Innovative and Energy-efficient: Clean Water without Chemicals

clean water
“Eco-UV” project develops processes for chemical-free cleaning of water in industry. (Photo: pixabay.com)

Water is used as a resource, for cooling or as a solvent. Water also is indispensable in industrial production. Environmentally compatible processing of water now is subject of the “Eco-UV” research project funded by the European Union with EUR 3.9 million under the “Horizon 2020” programme. Within the framework of the project, engineers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) plan to develop efficient UV emitters and long-lived electronic systems.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is applied for processing drinking water among others. Within shortest periods of time, the short-wave radiation can significantly reduce the bacterial count even without chemical additives. The “Eco-UV” EU project of industry and science is aimed at developing an innovative UV technology for water processing, from disinfection of drinking water to the detoxification of industrial process water. In addition, the process to be developed is to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) and overall environmental pollution. “A high energy efficiency and long service life will be major features of the new system,” Dr. Rainer Kling of KIT’s Light Technology Institute says. He coordinates KIT’s work package. “At KIT, we are working on the key component, a new, mercury-free UV emitter.” In addition, KIT engineers will supply the ballast for this lamp. “With silicon carbide as semiconductor material, we reach a very high power density. This does not only increase efficiency, but also reduces energy consumption and CO2 emission.”

Within the framework of the project, the new UV emitter technology will be tested for long-term stability, aging effects, and dose-effect relations under application conditions. For this purpose, industry and science cooperate under the “Eco-UV” project. The emitters made by KIT will be integrated into a system of Hanovia, a British manufacturer of UV systems (overall project coordinator). The DVGW Test Laboratory of KIT’s Engler-Bunte Institute will be responsible for the monitoring and certification of the systems, the Swedish environmental research institute IVL will make a complete lifecycle assessment of costs and benefits for the environment compared to conventional UV technologies. From the results, test protocols will be derived for various end user applications. They may serve as a basis for a future standardized validation of UV applications in the EU.

Eco-UV is financed from funds of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under grant No. 641.702.

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) pools its three core tasks of research, higher education, and innovation in a mission. With about 9,300 employees and 25,000 students, KIT is one of the big institutions of research and higher education in natural sciences and engineering in Europe.

KIT – The Research University in the Helmholtz Association