Given the mountain of evidence that ozone is a quick and effective destroyer of viruses and bacteria, why is there so much hesitation to champion ozone as a key weapon against the spread of Covid 19? The EPA has a list of 478 different products and 30 active ingredients that officially kill the Covid virus, but ozone is nowhere to be found in the list. The closest thing to ozone that is on the list is hydrogen peroxide. Have all these products actually been applied to the virus and proven to destroy or inactivate it? How can you tell if a virus is dead or inactive? Given what we are gradually learning about the virus, how it spreads, and how it infects our bodies, how effective are these disinfectants in preventing infection?
Dr. Chedly Tizaoui, a professor of chemical engineering at Swansee University has taken a rather novel approach in an attempt to answer some of these questions. Instead of conducting statistical analysis of thousands of people or trying to count dead viruses after applying a particular disinfectant, Dr. Tizaoui has applied molecular modeling to evaluate the effect of ozone on the molecular structures the virus. He shares his results in the International Ozone Association research journal “Ozone: Science and Engineering” https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/01919512.2020.1795614?needAccess=true
Molecular modeling is an especially useful tool for studying viruses because viruses are so small they can’t be seen with a standard light microscope. Their shape and structures are defined on a molecular level, so understanding the types of molecules making up their structure allows us to make an accurate model. The model not only evaluates the shape and function of corona virus anatomy, but it also evaluates the bonds holding these molecules together. Understanding the relationships between these molecules and how they function together to make the Corona Virus so sucessful provides important insight in the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of the virus.
We may not yet know all the complex interactions of the virus with people, or exactly how the virus infects, but we do have a pretty clear understanding of the molecular structure of the virus. It is also clear that the unique shape and structure of the molecular structures on the outer shell play a key role in the success of the virus. Molecular modeling is a tool that helps us see how this structure is altered when a molecule like ozone comes into contact with it.
Ozone is like a molecular hand grenade in the virus world and has the power to change the shape of the virus’s “arms” and disable them. Various kinds of molecules behave and react in predictable ways making it possible to use molecular modeling to study what happens when something like ozone molecules interacts with the structures on a virus.
Ozone is an exciting molecule to model because it packs a lot of energy. The molecule is very sensitive and quick to unload its energy on nearby molecules. It has a very positive 100 year track record for effectively destroying viruses and bacteria. The water treatment industry has grown to appreciate the value of ozone for destroying pathogens in water. The food industry is also learning how to harness its power for sanitation and shelf life extension. Ozone has also been used extensively in medical treatment, but faces an uphill battle against the pharmaceutical and chemical industries.
After applying the science of molecular modeling to Corona Virus anatomy and ozone, Dr. Tizaoui concludes, “The results show that ozone is able to attack the proteins and lipids of the virus’s spikes and envelope, particularly the amino acids tryptophan, methionine and cysteine, and the fatty acids,varachidonic acid, linoleic acid, and oleic acid. Ozone also attacks the N-glycopeptides of the spike protein subunits 1 and 2, though at lower reactivity. Disruption of the structure of SARS-CoV-2 could inactivate the virus, suggesting that ozone could be an effective oxidant against COVID-19 virus.”
Thank you, Dr. Tizaoui, for sharing this research. Now it’s our job to safely get the ozone where it needs to be to do its work.
Thought I would share my quarterly maintenance report for an ozone iron removal system serving a hog farrowing operation. Iron in the water had been causing high maintenance costs on the power washing equipment used to maintain a sanitary environment. We sized an ozone well water treatment system to remove the measured iron levels at a rate of 20 gallons per minute. The system injects ozone with a venturi, circulates it through a contact tank, and filters the oxidized iron with two sand filters. It has been running for a year and a half now and continues to provide excellent iron removal results. The picture shows two water filters, grey one with clay silt from the well water prior to entering the system. The red one is a post system filter to remove any iron the sand filters missed. I used the Chemetrics iron test kit we sell to verify results. The clear ampule reflects a post-filtration reading of 0.2 ppm total iron. The medium colored ones reflect a pre-treatment sample of 1 ppm iron. The dark-colored one was a test of the backflush water indicating what the sand filters are removing. Overall, the system is operating very well. I changed filters and check valves, measured system performance, and prepared a report for the customer. This summer the demand will be higher on the system, so I will try to get there a little before the next scheduled visit. Ozone can provide excellent results when properly applied and maintained. We are happy to provide quarterly maintenance to keep your ozone system operating at peak performance. Give us a call at 515 635-5854. We’d be happy to provide service for any ozone equipment on the market.
The Coronavirus pandemic has sparked an exponential increase in interest in ozone as a disinfectant. The phones at Oxidation Technologies have been ringing non-stop with people looking for answers and looking for help with their grand ideas for ozone as a silver coronavirus bullet. Our ozone specialists have been working hard to provide accurate information for those looking for answers. Ozone has been a powerful tool for over a hundred years, but misinformation is dangerous in a climate of desperation and hype. Our goal throughout this health crisis has been to educate our callers about safe and unsafe uses of ozone, effective and ineffective applications of ozone, and the facts and false claims people make about ozone.
If there is so much interest in ozone as a powerful and chemical-free disinfectant, why do we read so much about ozone as a very bad and deadly pollutant? For example, the American Lung Association says “Ozone (also called smog) is one of the most dangerous and widespread pollutants in the U.S.” On the other hand, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of ozone as an antimicrobial agent for the treatment, storage and processing of foods in gas and aqueous phases.” For years, now, we have recognized the value of an atmospheric layer of ozone that shields “living things from too much ultraviolet radiation from the sun.” Ozone sterilization of water has made the bottled water industry possible providing billions of bottles of safe drinking water. The answer to this paradox is not difficult or mysterious, but does require some ozone education. We hope you take some time to explore the wealth of ozone information on our website.
Our journey to the center of an ozone generating plasma cell begins with a ride around a not-so-lazy river. Perhaps you’ve enjoyed floating in a raft around a lazy river at a hotel or water park. Picture these rafts as electrons flowing through a circuit. Moving magnetic fields are pushing electrons through the fluid media of metal atoms. They follow the circular paths of circuits like rafts floating around and around the lazy river ride. A pump continually pushes the water along.
Unlike the continuous flow in one direction of direct current (DC), alternating current continuously reverses the flow of electrons. Imagine the lazy river model constantly changing direction. The electrons first flow one way, slow, reverse, and rush the other way. The electric supply to your home goes through 60 cycles per second. Our lazy river model begins to defy imagination at this rate of change. You can think of electrons as virtually weightless, unlike all the water and rafts in a lazy river. Electrons are quite capable of reversing direction very quickly.
Energy Transfer The flow of electrons through a wire might be apparent from the glow of a light bulb. As electrons squeeze through a resistive part of the circuit, the wire heats up transferring energy to heat and light. Other things are happening outside the wire. Hold a compass near a wire in which current is flowing, and the needle is pulled away from North. Whenever an electric current flows, a magnetic field develops around the wire. Stop the flow, and the field collapses.
Wrap this conductor into a coil, and the magnetic field is intensified. Add an iron core, and a magnet is born. A continuous flow supports a useful magnetic field, capable of pushing the rotor of a motor or the lever of a switch. Again we notice a transfer of energy, this time from electric current flow to some mechanical motion. Energy transfer doesn’t stop there.
Energy transfer is reversed in a magnetic field when the electric current stops. When current stops or reverses, the magnetic field collapses. The collapsing magnetic field gives electrons a push in the coiled conductor. This phenomena opens up the possibility of generating a flow of electrons in a second circuit that is isolated from the first circuit. It also introduces radio waves. Imagine a second lazy river next to yours. It doesn’t have a pump, so the water is still. But imagine an invisible force generated by the flowing of the first river pushing the water along in the second. Such a transfer of energy happens with the flow of electrons and is essential to ozone production within a plasma cell.
A Dam in the River: The Plasma Cell Heart
A dam in the lazy river brings the rafts to a halt, but build two Olympic sized pools on either side of the dam. Now the river continues to flow awhile even with a dam because it takes time to fill the pool. Depending on the strength of the pump, the water flows for a while as one pool gets a little deeper while the other is drawn down. If you can pump one pool much deeper than the other, a significant stress builds on the dam. Our lazy river could get exciting if the dam were to burst. We are getting closer to the center of a plasma cell.
In your mind you need to convert the Olympic sized swimming pools in our lazy river circuit to large flat pieces of metal. In the electron world, the dam between these two plates is an insulator, a material that prevents the flow of electrons. Electrons pile up on one side while they are drawn down on the other side. Electrons are the negative charge. Pulling electrons away leaves one side with deficiency of electrons: a positive charge. If the insulator were breached, a powerful surge of electrons would create a dramatic spark. It would be equivalent to the deep swimming pool emptying to the shallow one in milliseconds.
It is here at the “dam” where we discover the center of a plasma cell. When the distance between the two electrically charged plates is made smaller, the electrostatic forces between them grow exponentially. In other words, a thinner dam makes a more powerful electrostatic field. But a thin dam is also weaker and more susceptible to failure. The goal is a material that is strong and a good electrical insulator. Ceramic and quartz serve well for this purpose. But without some oxygen present in this high electrical pressure environment, we only have a capacitor and no ozone production.
We need to introduce one more element: a thin layer of oxygen as part of the “electron dam.” We can think of the dam as a sandwich of two insulators with a very thin slice of oxygen between them. When oxygen is exposed to the tremendous electrostatic forces found within this space between highly charged surfaces, the oxygen molecules are pulled apart and re-combine in highly energized forms. I would like to zoom in for a closer look at this sliver of space.
A Peak Inside the World Between Dielectric Barriers
Photographs of this space between the two insulators reveals what appears to be a mini, but intense electrical storm. We are used to thinking about lightning bolts jumping from one charged conductor to another, but in this electrostatic microcosm, the mini “bolts of lightning” are jumping from the surface of one insulator to the surface of the second insulator. In the presence of the strong electric field, the molecules within the insulator become polarized. This means that the electrons are pulled by the positive electrode toward one end of the molecule that make up the insulator. Even though electrons are unable to flow through the insulator, the polarization sets up “pools” of electrons on the surface. We call the insulating material used in in this application a “dielectric.” The type of ozone generator we are entering here is a dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) generator.
Exactly what is happening in this high electrical pressure world between dielectric barriers has been and continues to be a topic of considerable research and study. Already around 1897, John Townsend discovered that the strong electric field in the oxygen space between dielectrics initiates electron avalanches. A free electron among the oxygen atoms accelerates very quickly because it is attracted to the positively charged plate (anode). When it reaches a high enough velocity and collides with an oxygen molecule, it knocks off another electron, turning the molecule into a positively charged ion. This ion begins to move in the opposite direction toward the negatively charged plate (cathode) while the two electrons further accelerate toward the anode and collide with more oxygen molecules. As the growing electron cloud races toward the anode, it leaves a trail of positively charged ions in its wake.
This trail of ions and free electrons is conductive, and allows for a discharge of electric current through the oxygen. The discharge is the flow of electrons that has gathered on the surface of the dielectric towards the positive charge on the other side of the oxygen gap. It is this discharge of energy that breaks the oxygen molecule bonds releasing free oxygen atoms. Some re-combine with single atoms, and others combine with pairs to form highly energized ozone molecules made of three oxygen atoms. The world here at the center of an ozone generator is a stormy one swarming with surges of electrons.
DBD: A Specialized Form of Corona Discharge
The discharge is similar to a spark, but not nearly as hot. It does not result in a discharge of the electrodes. Only small areas of the inside surface of the dielectric discharge with each electron avalanche. The strong electric field induces a secondary, high voltage mini-circuit within the oxygen gap. Thousands of these discharges can be repeated as long as the voltage supplied to the anode and cathode continues to increase.
The power supply for an ozone generator alternates this electric field thousands of time each second. When the pressure (voltage) rises through the threshold that sets off electron avalanches, the discharge storm erupts. Since the electric field changes thousands of times each second, the oxygen gap experiences thousands of storms each second. The optimal frequency and voltage depends on the gap size and oxygen pressure. The electronics controlling the voltage need to be tuned to match the particular dielectric arrangement for optimal ozone production.
The benefits of setting off thousands of mini discharges in a space between insulators instead of simply allowing a spark to ark between the positive and negative electrodes are the following: 1) an arc generates so much heat that it melts most materials. Such an arc is useful for welding or plasma torches, but would destroy an ozone generator. 2) Ozone production is minimal with an arc. Most of the energy is converted to heat and the heat destroys ozone. 3) Producing many small discharges from dielectric surfaces within a strong electrical field stays cooler and yields more ozone.
This form of ozone generation is called “Dielectric Barrier Discharge” (DBD). DBD belongs to a category of corona discharge. Corona discharge was observed by ancient sailors on the masts of their ships as a flare of luminous plasma at the tips of the mast and other pointed parts of their ship when the atmosphere is highly charged. The phenomenon occurs when strong electrostatic forces concentrate at sharp points and break down air to form plasma. You can observe this phenomena with an electrostatic generator in a dark room. Many of the small ozone generators sold for home use rely on a form of corona discharge from sharp points. Higher quantities of high concentration ozone used in commercial applications often use DBD type ozone generators.
Ozone can also be produced with ultraviolet light and radiation bombardment. The ozone layer which protects earth from harmful radiation is produced by ultraviolet light with a wavelength less than 200 nm. Ultraviolet light between about 200 and 300 nm destroys ozone. The ozone layer is maintained with a balance of ozone generation and destruction with ultraviolet light. Ozone can be created in water with electrolysis. Passing an electric current through water breaks the water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. Using specific electrodes results in oxygen combining to form ozone.
Here at Oxidation Technologies we do not build DBD plasma cells, but we rely on companies who continue to research and build quality generators for a wide range of applications. We specialize in integrating the right ozone generators into specific applications. Dissolving ozone into water requires ozone generators that make higher concentrations of ozone. Many applications can utilize low pressure or even slight vacuum to minimize the danger of ozone leaks. Sometimes controlling precise levels of low ozone concentrations can best be attained with an ultraviolet ozone generator. Whatever your application, we have the expertise to integrate the right ozone generator to your process.
Every day, pharmaceutical companies around the world produce tons of products that people use to enhance their quality of life. This realm of products has been lumped into a category called “Pharmaceuticals & Personal Care Products,” (PPCPs). These products and drugs do not disappear, but are found increasingly in the water being discharged from wastewater treatment plants. The impact that this cocktail of chemicals has on the animals and people dependent on this water is not fully understood, but the evidence is clear that it is not good.
Ozone is a powerful oxidant capable of breaking troublesome molecules. What impact does ozone have on PPCPs? A recent laboratory study published in the engineering journal of the International Ozone Association (IOA) exposed water containing thirty seven different PPCPs to investigate the degradability of these chemicals.
Eight of the thirty five were very quickly degraded to or below their limit of detection with a dissolved ozone dose of 1ppm within 5 minutes. Five more were degraded with a dissolved ozone dose of 2ppm within 5 minutes. Five more required at least 10 minutes of retention time at 2 ppm.
The other half of the thirty five required more time and a higher dose of ozone. Three of them, (DEET, Ketoprophen, and Primidone) did not degrade below their limit of detection even when exposed to 9ppm of dissolved ozone for 15 minutes.
Ozone clearly has a significant role to play with PPCP cleanup. Further study is sure to discover ways to optimize the process and make it more effective. Oxidation Technologies specializes in integrating ozone into the specific process of diverse customers. We continue to pursue a better understanding of ozone use in a variety of applications.
N. Evelin Paucar, Ilho Kim, Hiroaki Tanaka & Chikashi Sato (2019) Ozonetreatment process for the removal of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in wastewater, Ozone: Science & Engineering, 41:1, 3-16, DOI: 10.1080/01919512.2018.1482456
The delicate balance of natural systems of the oceans provides an abundance of food for the world. The current rate of harvest, however, is degrading this rich resource. Inland farming of ocean fish is becoming an attractive alternative. Precise ozone control is a key component for replicating an ocean environment for inland farming of ocean fish.
Ozone provides excellent disinfection, enhances the filtration process, and increases the overall efficiency of recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS). Ozone is one of the most powerful disinfectants available. It accelerates the natural processes of breaking down toxins and filtration. It is made of oxygen, and decomposes back to oxygen or oxides when its work is finished.
“Foam Fractionation and Ozone in Modern Aquaculture Systems: Valuable Tools for Clear Water Production and Farm Management
Abstract Recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) for farming finfish is a technology that offers the necessary biosecurity and water quality control, as well as waste management. Modern closed recirculating systems can operate far away from the natural water source and a water consumption of less than 1% of the system volume per day. High-tech systems such as the oceanloop technology (neomar.de) allow the land-based production of fish species of high commercial interest and value, close to the consumer. This technology  represents the cutting edge of science and technology. The discharge of nutrients and organic matter can be well controlled. The technology is environmentally sound and supports the sustainability of aquatic food production. Key words: Aquaculture, Foam Fractionation, Ozone
Conclusions The re-use of water is inevitable in modern aquaculture production systems. The use of biological water treatments, combined with a foam fractionation process, enhanced with ozone are crucial. Farm managers can profit from clear water production in terms of increasing both, mean stocking density without affecting fish welfare, and survival rate due to an optimization of water quality.”
High iron content in water often results in disagreeable metallic taste and unappealing color in cooked vegetables. Although not a health threat, iron bacteria thrive in this water and contribute to biofilm and discoloration. Dissolved iron eventually leads to ugly stains on fixtures and clogged pipes. Removing iron from your water supply is well worth the investment.
The most common piece of water treatment equipment for homeowners is the water softener. Your water softener is designed to remove calcium from the water. It may remove some of the iron, but iron is prone to stick to the resin bed and is difficult to flush out.
An iron filter is a much more effective method for removing iron. There are a variety of filter systems, but they all follow the two step process of oxidizing the iron and then filtering it out. Iron that is dissolved in water can’t be filtered out until it is oxidized or made into larger rust particles that are large enough to be filtered.
Simply aerating water containing dissolved iron will begin the oxidation process needed for filtration. This method is simple, but can introduce some new problems such as increased bacteria growth. It is also slower and difficult to control effectively.
Some compact home iron filtration devices contain media which accelerates the oxidization process and also serves as a filter to remove the oxidized particles. Like a water softener, these systems require periodic back flushing and eventually require chemical regeneration. The effectiveness of these systems is dependent on PH levels and do not disinfect the water. Iron bacteria can still cause problems by leaving ugly stains on water fixtures.
Adding a chemical feed pump to introduce chlorine, calcium hypochlorite or potassium permanganate increases the oxidation. These systems are able to remove higher iron levels and also serve to disinfect the water. The disadvantage is the ongoing cost of dangerous chemicals.
Ozone has been used for water treatment for over a hundred hears. It is used extensively for bottled water treatment because it is an effective disinfectant and improves taste and color. Oxidation Technologies specializes in harnessing the power of ozone for a variety of water treatment needs.
One useful way to measure ozone concentration is to state how many parts of ozone are present per million parts of gas (normally air.) We can smell ozone when it is present in the air in as low as .01 parts per million (10 parts per billion). At .1 ppm levels in ambient air, ozone becomes uncomfortable. Industrial ozone generators can produce ozone in concentrations well over 100,000 parts per million. Usually these larger concentrations are expressed in % by weight. 100,000 ppm could be written as 100,000/1,000,000 which is 10/100 or 10%. Because the weight of an ozone molecule is heavier than the other gas molecules making up air, the actual measurement is 13.7 %wt. Parts per million is useful for many applications, but sometimes it is handy to use parts per billion for very low concentrations. The general principle is to reduce the number of zeros when communicating this information. We do the same thing when measuring distance with millimeters or kilometers etc. A good starting point to get a feel for ozone concentration is to become familiar with ppm and %wt. We provide definitions for other common units and links for conversions and calculators at our calculations page.
A second dimension of ozone measurement is the actual quantity of ozone being produced or used. The production of smaller generators is measured in grams per hour. The production of the largest generators is measured in pounds per day. 1 lb/day ozone = 18.89 g/hr ozone. The smallest ozone generators we sell generate less than a half of a gram per hour. That would be about a hundredth of a pound per day which is an awkward figure to use. “Grams per hour” happens to be practical for describing the output of lower production machines. The larger ones we sell generate 1000 grams per hour or 50 pounds per day. Pounds per day happens to be practical for larger machines. A drinking water treatment plant in Texas uses up to 42,900 pounds of ozone per day (over 200 tons). One lightning storm can generate over 200 tons of ozone.
A third dimension of measurement for any gas application is flow rate. When generating ozone, flow rate will affect the ozone concentration. With a given ozone production rate (for example, 200 grams per hour), lower flow rates will result in higher ozone concentrations. Higher flow rates will result in lower concentrations. One useful calculator helps determine the amount of ozone needed to supply a particular concentration at a particular flow rate. For example, if you need a concentration of 5% by weight and have an oxygen flow of 10 LPM, you will need a generator capable of 43 grams per hour. If the flow doubles to 20 LPM, the concentration is cut in half.
People working with municipal water treatment get used to working with larger units such as pounds per day and high ozone concentrations. People working with sanitation equipment and other mid-scale applications get used to thinking in terms of grams per hour and the whole spectrum of ozone concentration measurements. Those involved in small household applications and generators are more familiar with milligrams per hour and low concentrations. Our system integration experts need to be familiar with the whole spectrum of measurements. Familiarity and precision in application grows with years and diversity of experience. Our online calculator provides a powerful tool for an efficient and effective integration of ozone into your application.
Oxidation Technologies provides equipment, engineering expertise, and service to a wide range of applications and ozone demands. Our service requires flexibility in thinking and a familiarity with the full spectrum of ozone concentrations. We build ozone systems to integrate into your existing industrial process. Every situation has a multitude of variables that will affect the performance.
Give us a call. We’d love to help you harness the power of ozone for your application. 515-635-5854
During some recent lab testing I had some high concentration dissolved ozone solution to play with. It was easy to see a 50 ppm ozone solution rapidly destroying color molecules in water. Ozone breaks apart bacterial, viruses and other water contaminants like it breaks apart the color molecules. Here at Oxidation Technologies we do a variety of product exposure testing with ozone. We are always happy to talk to you about harnessing the power of ozone for your application. Give us a call at 515-635-5854. Check out our website for fast and easy source of all ozone related supplies.
Long term, reliable operation of an ozone system depends largely on clean, dry air. Unless you have liquid oxygen (LOX) as an oxygen source, your ozone will be generated from the oxygen found in ambient air. The air around us contains dust particles, and lots of water vapor. One cubic meter of air on a hot humid day can contain up to 30 grams of water. Even a gram of water vapor in a cubic meter of air (dew point -5 deg. F) will inevitably lead to failure of the ozone generating equipment. We need to get another 9/10 of a gram of water out to keep an ozone generator in good shape.
Water content in air is most commonly measured in terms of dew point. Dew point is the temperature at which water vapor condenses into liquid. When a mass of air cools down to very cold temperatures before water condenses, it indicates that there is not much water vapor in the air. The graph shows that dew point is not linear in relation to the amount of water vapor in the air. It is easy to see that the water content gets close to zero at about -50 degrees F. Large ozone systems operate with feed gas between -100 and -60.
An air filter and desiccant air dryer is often used to clean and dry the air for a small air-fed ozone system. The desiccant material absorbs moisture from the air as it passes through. When the desiccant becomes saturated, air flow is switched to a second chamber of desiccant material while heat is applied to the first to drive the water from the material in the first chamber. The processes switches back and forth, effectively dries the air to a dewpoint of -40 deg F. This is a cost effective level of dryness for small ozone systems.
Ozone systems that use an oxygen concentrator are able to take even more water out of the feed gas. The first line of defense will be the air filter for the air coming into the air compressor used for your ozone system. This filter will remove particles of dust that eventually wear out the compressor as well. The compression process also serves to remove much of the water when the hot compressed air cools forming water droplets that can be removed with a coalescing filter. A compressor with a means to cool the compressed air can bring the dew point from 60 to 40 degrees. This compressed air is forced through the zeolite sieve beds of and oxygen concentrator. The zeolite quickly absorbs the Nitrogen and remaining water vapor. As the oxygen concentrator cycles, the Nitrogen and water vapor is exhausted, leaving 93% oxygen with a dew point from -60 to -100 degrees F. The oxygen concentrator works well as long as water vapor does not build up or condense in the sieve beds. They will not work well when the compressed air has a dew point above 40 degrees or the sieve material absorbs moisture during down time.
Oxidation Technologies provides sales, service, and system design of gas preparation equipment for ozone systems.