Sustainable water treatment by Aqua4D – article in Bâtitech magazine
This article was originally published in the May 2020 version of the Swiss Bâtitech magazine (gebaeudetechnik.ch), by Bernard Dätwyler (Bâtitech).
Planet Horizons Technologies AG (PHT) was founded in September 2004. The company has its headquarters in Sierre (VS), where it develops, produces and
distributes an innovative water treatment system called AQUA4D®. The main areas are: sustainable buildings (including communal water systems and industry), precision irrigation, animal health.
The originality of the AQUA4D® technology is that it does not change the chemical composition of the water, does not use chemicals, has no discharges, has very low energy consumption and requires no maintenance. With several thousand installations, dozens of scientific studies by universities and research centres, and the recognition of numerous organisations and foundations, its effectiveness and its ecological and economic benefits are well established.
With sustainable protection of water systems without the use of chemicals, AQUA4D® allows for the permanent elimination of the use of chemicals and the prevention of scale deposits and corrosion, thus improving the long-term protection of facilities, pipes and appliances. At the same time, this avoids high costs associated with cleaning and maintenance.
Unlike salt water softeners, this technology works with any type of water regardless of its chemical composition and degree of hardness. Salt water softeners are set for a given water hardness, and this water quality is nowadays highly variable in the world.
The effects are also obtained with any type of pipe, regardless of the material used, whether steel, copper or synthetic materials. Efficiency is observed over several kilometres of piping.
In the field of Precision Irrigation, AQUA4D® is known worldwide for its significant water savings, solving salinity problems and preventing biofilm and mineral clogging in irrigation systems, while improving yields and production quality.
Furthermore, operating in the field of Animal Health, AQUA4D® provides increased biosecurity with proven biofilm removal and inhibition of bacterial growth.
After proven success in its many markets, the Valais-based company received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme to extend its technology to the processing of large cereal crops irrigated by pivots with very high flow rates. Horizon 2020 is known as a fast track to innovation, aiming to promote promising and innovative European SMEs. It is thus the 7th generation of Aqua4D® devices that will be released by 2022, and a new major recognition mark from public institutions on our sustainable and profitable solutions.
Example Project: Cleaning of the pressure line at the Lenk sports centre.
A collection well for the heat pump water, located approx. 70 m outside the building, is supplied with surface/ground water and spring water. With two pumps, each with a capacity of 75 m3/h, the water is fed to the heat exchanger via a 250 mm diameter pipe. A self-cleaning filter is installed in the pressure line, which does not fulfil its function and must be removed if the line is modified.
Analysis of the problem
Two water samples analyzed at separate locations tend to form limestone deposits. In addition, they contain a high amount of sulphur and a significant amount of chloride, making the water very aggressive. It attacks metal surfaces and causes corrosion. Iron ions are dissolved and partially oxidise with the oxygen present in the water. This creates an ideal habitat for the development of iron bacteria and other microorganisms. The water analysis actually shows an increase in the amount of iron and manganese in the pump well. From the pump well, the water is fed to the heat exchanger via a 70-metre long plastic pipe. Organic deposits form in the pipe and directly in the plate heat exchanger (chain-accelerated). The problem is aggravated by the combination of mineral (limestone) and organic (iron bacteria) deposits.
AQUA4D® is a purely physical solution and works without the addition of chemicals. Corrosion caused by aggressive water is eliminated, existing biofilm is removed and no longer develops, existing lime deposits are removed and new deposits are stopped. The three systems already in use at the Federal Office in Magglingen have given those responsible full satisfaction.
The recurrent adhesion of sludge in the heat exchanger was avoided, and the cleaning intervals, initially 4 to 8 weeks, are no longer necessary.
Existing deposits in the supply line have already been significantly reduced in the first two months.
As these can increase the suspended solids in the heat exchanger in the initial phase, it is essential to install a bypass upstream of the heat exchanger. Thus, during the first six weeks after the Aqua4D® is put into operation, the pipe can be flushed daily for 10 minutes to remove any deposits (mainly biofilm) that come off in this first phase. In this way, the eliminated biofilm can be evacuated without ending up in the heat exchanger. ■
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