NEW SYSTEM TO DECONTAMINATE FOOD AND WATER

THE DEPARTMENT OF ENGINEERING PROJECT MADE IT POSSIBLE TO OUTLINE A PROTOTYPE THAT GENERATES OZONE AND THAT COULD BENEFIT RURAL SECTORS.



January 06, 2017

The Department of Engineering is running a project that will allow residents of rural areas to consume food and water without chemical and biological contaminants, through a system that is based on the generation of ozone.

This initiative aims to solve a problem affecting rural populations that use water without chlorine treatment and with no cooling systems, either because of the lack of electrical power or economic resources. This reality implies early food decomposition caused by contamination by a high load of microorganisms.

In this context, our institution, with the support of the Macro-Department of Engineering, developed a project to implement renewable energy solutions in isolated and vulnerable sectors, an initiative financed by the Access to Energy Fund, promoted by the Government’s Secretary of Industry. 

As a result of this project, it was developed a prototype that generates ozone from photovoltaic energy, for the decontamination of food and water for the consumption of the inhabitants of rural areas, specifically in the sector El Melado, Colbún County.

According to the head of the project, Diogenes Hernández, "this initiative proposes the development of automated prototypes, driven by photovoltaic energy for the generation of ozone, a gas that is highly oxidizing, and it has been proven that it eliminates 99.99% of the microorganisms present in water and food, without causing damage to humans." 

Ozone can destroy viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi, molds, spores and other contaminants and is 3,000 times more effective than chlorine for the disinfection of water and it is safer to handle, since it does not emanate vapors such as those of chlorine, which have a high potential of irritability of the airways.

Operation

To achieve the optimal conservation of food and water purification, ozone is generated by an autonomous system that channels this gas through two tracks, one of which goes directly to a pond where water is stored. Another duct connects to a chamber where the food will be stored, which means that both systems are free of microorganisms, thanks to the presence of ozone. 

To ensure the continued operation of the mechanism, the energy needed is obtained from a photovoltaic system that consists of two 300-watt solar panels, connected to an inverter. This feeds directly to the ozone generator, which consumes 20 watts.

Finally, the excess energy is stored in a bank of batteries, which is then used to power a pump that draws water from its origin, mainly wells, to fill a 200-liter pond with the resource that the ozone will decontaminate.

It should be noted that based on this prototype it is sought to generate an ozone kit for the market, with an approximate price of 500 thousand pesos (US$800, approx.)

The regional deputy secretary of Energy for the Maule Region, Vicente Marinkovic, who assessed the scope of the initiative, commented that "in addition to being an innovative proposal, it has a high percentage of applicability, since it can be installed in different mountain areas of the Maule Region and in other regions".



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