Success is clear for RGU spin-out company working on US water

Posted: Tuesday 14th October 2008

UVPS Environmental, a spin-out company of The Robert Gordon University (RGU), in collaboration with Filter Clear, have successfully completed field trials in the USA of an advanced water treatment system. Known as ‘Sapphire-Clear™’, it effectively destroys contaminants in low visibility water, using less energy than conventional methods.

With the assistance of the Scottish Environmental Technology Network (SETN), the two companies took part in competitive trials in the USA for one of the largest environmental projects in the country. The project was initiated after a regional water district in Florida received nearly $300,000,000 from the Federal Government to regenerate and restore the Everglades National Park, which is the largest remaining subtropical wilderness in the US.

The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) began the testing of advanced water treatment technologies after conventional approaches failed to adequately remove E.Coli and other contaminants from surface water intended for use in Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) schemes. Because it is deeply coloured water with high levels of sediments in it in times of heavy rainfall, the treatment of it was problematic.

UVPS were invited to participate in field trials following successful bench- scale trials carried out on samples of the surface water. UVPS incorporated a pre-treatment filtration device, the patented "Spruce" Filter which was developed by Filter Clear with its "Sapphire" photocatalytic reactor, allowing it to operate at maximum efficiency.

One of the key advantages of the "Sapphire" reactor, proven in this trial, is its ability to cope with water colourations far higher than tolerated by the traditional UV systems that have already proved inadequate for the ASR project in the region. At measured colour units of up to 800, the transmittance of UV-C is reduced to <1%.

The "Sapphire-Clear" ™ water treatment system effectively destroyed high levels of E.Coli present in the source water, demonstrating the capabilities of the novel technologies of the two Scottish companies. The "Sapphire" system also has lower operating costs and consumes less energy per cubic meter water treated than conventional systems.

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