Inefficient Ozone Generation its Hidden Costs

Ozone is broadly implemented as a powerful oxidative agent in industry, where it can be utilized in chemical syntheses, disinfection and water purification. In addition, wherever there is available electricity, ozone can be quickly produced from gaseous oxygen, which is readily obtainable.

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Unfortunately, typical ozone generators are undermined by substantial standby consumption rates, a reality that has caused facilities with variable ozone requirements, or in possession of redundant systems, to face surprisingly high operating costs.

As far as gases go, it would be uncontroversial to say that ozone has a pretty good reputation. In 1913, French physicists Charles Fabry and Henri Buisson found that, for roughly the last 2 billion years, a stratospheric aggregation of ozone had been inconspicuously shielding the Earth from threatening UV radiation, which otherwise would have arrested the development of plant and animal life on the planet.1,2 Ever since, atmospheric Ozone has accumulated a kind of cult following among the inhabitants of Earth, who have even declared the 16th of September “World Ozone Day”.3

Ozone has other noteworthy characteristics apart from its absorption of UV radiation: it’s a staggeringly effectual oxidizing agent.4 Oxidising agents are chemicals that enable oxidation, a physical process primarily responsible for the sorts of chemical decay we equate to the presence of oxygen,  such as rusting and combustion.

The Role of Ozone for Industry and Water Suppliers

While the notion of oxidation may not appear immediately useful, oxidizing agents are frequently utilized in industrial contexts, and implemented in municipal services. The extremely reactive gas is used considerably for water purification, where its highly reactive nature makes it deadly to microorganisms, and it works without leaving any harmful by-products. Ozone’s aggressive oxidizing characteristics are highly valued for their capacity to destroy microorganisms, eradicate odors and remove impurities from water.5,6,7

Apart from its distinctly effective oxidizing properties, one of the primary reasons for ozone’s popularity in industry is its accessibility. While a handful of stronger oxidizing agents do exist, the uniqueness of ozone derives from the fact that it can be manufactured at high purity, on-site, using solely gaseous oxygen.

Ozone generation is also crucial for municipal water suppliers who use ozone to purify drinking water. Ozone destroys bacteria and viruses, removes metals (via the formation of precipitates) and can also eliminate organic compounds. Additionally, as it is a distinctly reactive species, it disintegrates rapidly once the water has been cleansed into the safest possible by-product – more water.

The ability to create a valuable oxidative agent, for the purification of water, using nothing but oxygen as a feedstock may seem somewhat implausible. Unfortunately, for companies and municipal water suppliers using outdated ozone generation networks, this is the reality. The inefficiencies of regular ozone technology result in many facilities having to significantly overspend on ozone production.

The problem with extant ozone production is best explained by example. If a facility has an ozone specification of 10 kg/hr, the conventional method is to establish two generators, each with 10 kg/hr capacity. One will operate as the mainstay ozone-generating machine, while the other is employed as a reserve. The problem arises from the fact that the backup generator must be maintained on standby and supplied with oxygen and water, so that it can step up generation when required.

The need for redundancy in ozone production is of significance for all categories of operations. For example, without redundancy, companies that utilize ozone face generation downtime and profit losses. Similarly, but even more dramatic, municipal water suppliers could relinquish the ability to produce clean drinking water. Not having a redundant ozone network for such an application is unthinkable, as the provision of clean water is of crucial importance.

However, despite the need for redundancy, the installation of an idle system to implement redundancy entails an exceptionally high initial outlay. Moreover, the system itself occupies a large environmental footprint, consumes a large amount of energy and other resources, and leads to multiplied maintenance costs.

These extra expenses, often unspecified by manufacturers, are leading many to seek out a more cost-effective alternative; one which doesn’t demand an additional, inefficiently idle system to attain security in ozone generation.

How Can Ozone Generation be More Efficient?

Primozone is responding to this shortcoming by reassessing the role of redundancy in ozone production systems. Rather than installing one generator to satisfy demand and another to serve a reserve function, Primozone engages a modular design to minimize standby requirements.

Let’s return to the previous example. Instead of installing two 10 kg/hr capacity generators, the facility could install a network of five 2.5 kg/hr Primozone generators – a total of 12.5 kg/hr capacity. Each of these generators can operate at 80% duty, making sure that requirements are met without any idling generators. Redundancy is efficiently integrated: if one generator were to break down, the remaining four could be maximized to 100% duty to satisfy demand.8

By eradicating the necessity for idling generators, the price of ozone production now correlates linearly with ozone requirement, as well as significantly minimizing equipment costs. In the example given, Primozone’s modular design means that only 25% of the intended capacity needs to be installed as backup, while capital expenditure is lowered by 40%.

Additionally, maintenance costs and the equipment’s footprint are substantially reduced. This allows businesses and municipal water suppliers to possess confidence that their system can continue to operate, minus the wasteful inefficiency of a totally idle backup system. The modular attitude utilized by Primozone saves money, space and resources, with no loss in redundancy.

In addition to their efficient, modular design, Primozone generators are, on an individual level, extremely  high performing: they offer the highest ozone concentration on the market at up to 20% by mass, and at gas pressures up to 3.0 bar. This is in addition to their maintenance-free design philosophy and extremely compact size, making Primozone generators a versatile and scalable solution to enhance any ozone application.

References and Further Reading

  1. The Ozone Layer. Available at: https://ebrary.net/5725/education/oone_layer. (Accessed: 13th May 2018)
  2. Instant Expert: Photosynthesis. Cogdell, R. New Sci. (2013).
  3. International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, 16 September.
  4. Electrochemical Methods. Fundamentals and Applications. Bard, A. J. & Faulkner, L. R. (2001).
  5. Ozone Disinfection | OzoneSolutions.com. Available at: https://www.ozonesolutions.com/info/ozone-disinfection. (Accessed: 13th May 2018)
  6. Primozone: Odor contol. Available at: https://primozone.com/industrial/odor-contol/. (Accessed: 13th May 2018)
  7. Primozone: Pharmaceutical residue. Available at: https://primozone.com/municipal/pharmaceutical-residue/. (Accessed: 13th May 2018)
  8. Primozone: Re-thinking redundancy. Available at: https://primozone.com/technology/re-thinking-redundancy/. (Accessed: 14th May 2018)

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Primozone.

For more information on this source, please visit Primozone.

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