A new type of water cleanup technology that can effectively and efficiently remove organic contaminants from large quantities of water, without using any added chemicals, could be a huge step forward for aquaculture and the world's growing farmed fish operations.
In 2011, the production of farmed fish worldwide surpassed global beef production for the first time, and the industry shows no sign of slowing down. However, producing fish at those levels comes with its own set of challenges that require solutions, including the need to constantly remove ammonia and kill harmful bacteria and other aquatic pathogens in the water.
The new water cleanup technology, Electro Water Separation™ (EWS), is said to be a three-in-one solution that could lead to a more sustainable and viable farmed fish industry, because it not only cleans and sanitizes both the supply and the discharge water cost-effectively, but it can also harvest algae for use as fish feed. The discharge waters, which are nitrogen-rich, can then be used to feed the algae ponds, which may help aquaculture operations to "close the loop" a bit more.
The EWS technology works in two stages:
- Electro-Coagulation: contaminated water enters the first stage, which is a proprietary electro-coagulation process. In this stage, mild electrical impulses are applied in long tubes, causing the organic contaminants to coagulate, or “clump” together.
- Electro-Flotation: the clumped-up material travels into a second stage where low power electrical pulses generate a cloud of micro-bubbles that gently lifts the concentrate to the surface for harvesting.
Originally developed as part of OriginOil's algae systems, the EWS system is capable of removing up to 99% of the water for algae harvesting, and can extract more than 98% of the biomass in the first pass. In addition, the EWS system can remove 98% of bacteria from harvested algae, which helps to keep it for rotting for up to 5 days, without refrigeration.
According to OriginOil, the company behind the EWS technology, tests have shown that up to 99% of ammonia and bacteria are removed with the process, and dissolved oxygen levels are increased in the water. In addition, because the process is not temperature-dependent, the EWS technology could be applied across a wide range of sites and climates.
The new technology has been chosen by New Global Energy as a piece in its strategy to restart closed fish farms in the Coachella Valley region, and OriginOil has said it will establish a permanent water cleanup technology showcase near the Salton Sea. The technology can also be used to effectively clean "frac flowback" water and to treat other water used in the petroleum industry.