What is Ozone?
Ozone (O3) is Mother Nature’s perfect purifier. The word “ozone” is derived from the Greek word for “smell” and forms naturally in the upper atmosphere. We know it as the ozone layer. It protects us from harmful UV rays. Another form of ozone we are familiar with is a component of air pollution found in the lower atmosphere. We call that bad ozone.
Ozone exists when oxygen (O2) is exposed to ultraviolet light, or exposed to high voltages of lightning. That fresh, clean smell that we notice after a rain storm, is ozone. It provides a natural, clean disinfectant that can be used in water and air treatment applications. Ozone has been approved by the FDA, USDA, and the EPA as an antimicrobial disinfectant.
As the oxygen molecules (O2) are exposed to these energy fields, they dissociate and split, forming atoms (O1). These wandering oxygen atoms then recombine with other (O2) molecules in the air stream, forming ozone (O3). Ozone is nothing more than another molecular form of oxygen.
Because ozone is highly reactive, it readily oxidizes (breaks down) organic matter. When ozone encounters another compound, one oxygen atom will break away, attach itself to the compound, and oxidize (clean or purify) it.
What are the benefits of using Ozone?
Ozone is the most powerful oxidizer and disinfectant commercially available that can be safely used in water treatment. It is an environmentally friendly alternative to salt, chlorine, and other chemicals. Due to the instability of the ozone molecule, it is generated at the point of use and is easily converted back to oxygen. Ozone can literally oxidize material in water 3,200 times faster than chlorine and 5,600 times faster than bromine.
Ozone has been used since the turn of the century to purify drinking and municipal waste water. Los Angeles has one of the largest municipal ozone water treatment plants in the world.
Ozone Achieves these Water Treatment Functions:
- Disinfection – Bacterial disinfection, and the inactivation of viruses and cysts.
- Oxidation of Inorganics – Precipitates iron, manganese, sulfides, nitrites and organically bound heavy metals.
- Oxidation of Organics – Including organics causing color, taste and odor problems, some detergents and pesticides, phenols, VOCs, turbidity control and micro flocculation of soluble organics.
How is Ozone used for Water & Air Purification?
Ozone must be made on-site, and used immediately. Ozone generators produced ozone first by compressing ambient air, then separating it out and concentrating the oxygen. At ClearWater Tech, we run the oxygen through a high-voltage device, called a corona, essentially “lightning in a bottle”. The generator then “injects” the gaseous ozone into water using negative pressure or a vacuum. We also sell UV generators which expose the oxygen to UV light. More is detailed below.
There are two common methods to generate Ozone:
1. Corona Discharge (CD)
2. Ultraviolet (UV) Light
Corona discharge generators are much more sophisticated than UV and have the capability to generate much higher levels of ozone. Ozone is produced (see diagram above) by passing a stream of dry air or oxygen through a high voltage field called a corona discharge, where oxygen (O2) in the stream is converted to ozone (O3). Ozone is generated at the point of application.
UV ozone generators, use a light source that generates a narrow-band of ultraviolet light. Standard UV ozone generators are less expensive and produce ozone with a concentration of about 0.5% or lower. UV also requires the air (oxygen) to be exposed to the UV source for a longer amount of time, and any gas that is not exposed to the UV source will not be treated. This makes UV generators impractical for use in situations that deal with rapidly moving air or water streams.
Ozone generators are manufactured in various sizes, each of which is dependent on the quality and quantity of the water to be treated. The smaller the application, the smaller the ozone generator. The larger the application, the larger the generator needed. See our Products Page. Applications include commercial laundries, pool water, waste water, surface sanitation, and more. See a detailed list on our Applications Page.