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Keronite and ATG UV partner to develop chemical free water treatment

17th June 2021 – Cambridge, UK – Keronite has developed a water treatment process using a photocatalytic coating, rather than chemicals, to purify water. The project, called Pristine, was funded by a £190,000 InnovateUK grant. Keronite partnered with UV water treatment specialist ATG UV to create a technology initially designed to generate ultra-pure water for manufacturing, but which has the potential for much broader application.

Unique PEO coating and UV combine to remove pollutants

This innovative photocatalytic coating provides a low-impact, efficient and chemical-free solution that actively removes pollutants from water. Established in partnership with a leading provider of water and wastewater treatment solutions, the project was originally designed to make water safer and supplies more reliable.

Keronite’s photocatalytic surface technology does not include chemicals. Instead, it uses its innovative plasma electrolytic oxidation (PEO) technology to embed photocatalytic reagents into the surface of the purification vessel. When exposed to UV light, the photocatalysts speed up chemical reactions, such as oxidation, decomposition or elimination of bacteria. Photocatalysts can continue to operate continuously, and in theory indefinitely, as they are not consumed during the process.

Additionally, photocatalysts create no by-products so, unlike chemical treatment, do not require disposal of waste materials. Keronite specialises in developing innovative and unique surface coatings that enhance the properties of the substrate, so this is an ideal application of its plasma electrolytic oxidation (PEO) technology.

Multiple benefits from a single innovation

As Keronite’s Chief Technology Officer, Dr Robert Francis, explains: “Unlike chemical treatments, which continually need to be replenished, a photocatalyst never runs out because it is activated by light. It’s immobile, so doesn’t introduce any pollutants to the water and, because it’s highly active, it has the potential to tackle hard-to-remove micro-organisms.”

When compared to more traditional water purification methods, which carry other pollutants, create by-products and require constant restocking of chemicals, the PEO coatings technology in the Pristine reactor offers unequivocal advantages.

This technology enables a rethink of the environmental impact of water purification, which can be a resource intensive process. Some plants consume significant amounts of energy and the process of transporting purified water to end-users has a further impact.

This unique combination of UV and PEO technology is scalable, so could be installed directly into the user’s facility. Large scale applications include purified water for manufacturing, pharmaceuticals or electronics. This not only means a reliable supply of pure water, but also reduces or eliminates the need for transporting water over hundreds of miles using lorries or bulk liquid tankers.

Dr Francis concludes: “This technology – with its ability to produce clean water cheaply, efficiently and with no side-effects and now the possibility of helping fight against COVID-19 – offers the potential of significant revenue and, more importantly, huge societal benefits.”

To learn more about the project, its underlying technologies or to enquire about the role of a photocatalytic surface coating in your projects, get in touch with a materials scientist at Keronite today.

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