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Plasma technology for disinfection of sea water

  1. Jul 31, 2012 #1

    I'm a chemical engineer working in the shipping industry.

    In a few words,there are many technologies emerging lately due to a new Marine convention that forces all vessels to treat ballast water (disinfection) before discharging it in order to minimize consequences from the mix of different sea ecosystems.

    One Korean system uses a combination of filtering, UV radiation and Plasma shockwaves to achieve the necessary levels of disinfection.

    My problem is i don't have the necessary knowledge to understand how this Plasma system works. I would like someone to take a few mins to read through the subject and explain to me how this sytem works. Here is a link describing this system : http://mykomec.blogspot.gr/2012/04/ara-plasma-ballast-water-treatment.html

    I'm looking forward to your replies.

    Thank you in advance.

    PS.Excuse my flawed English, i am Greek
    PS1. Feel free to move this thread to a more suited section, if there is one. I understand this is not a ''typical'' engineering question.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 31, 2012 #2


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    Welcome to PF.
    I have no education in anything, let alone this subject, so take what I say with a grain of salt. The link that you posted leaves a lot of questions to me, although a physicist or engineer might not have the same issues.
    First off, I can't figure out how they can generate high-energy plasma from a "low-power discharge". Secondly, I'm not sure that I trust the statement that the shockwave will kill all of the bad guys by rupturing their sidewalls. It seems to me that you'd have to run the whole sample through a microscope to determine whether or not that happens.
    I'm not outright denying it, and am not qualified to do so, but I am a tad suspicious.
    (They don't pay me enough to be certain of anything.)
  4. Jul 31, 2012 #3
    Thank you for your prompt reply.

    The link i posted is the most analytical answer provided to the q: ''How it works?''. Yet, as you said, it is non-scientific and very general. The more i learn about Plasma , the less i understand this system tech.

    Here's another link just for reference: http://samkuncentury.blogspot.gr/2012/01/ara-plasma-bwts-manufactured-by-samkun.html
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2012
  5. Jul 31, 2012 #4


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    Well, my first thought is that I hope they mean "rudder" operation. As it is written, I don't even want to guess what "rubber" operation might entail. (I know what it means to my life, but I can't see that being extrapolated to the bottom of a ship.)
    I must point out, though, that I misunderstood the purpose the first time around. Your second link makes it clear that the ballast water is to be expelled in a somewhat purified form. I have to assume that the purpose is to avoid cross-contamination of invasive species into a different body of water than that in which they were ingested. My initial thought, after your first post, was that you wanted to extract potable water from the ballast. I realize now that you did specify the goal, but I was somehow thinking of human usage being between the intake and outlet. I have no idea why I thought that. My bad.
    Anyhow, for either purpose I'd be a lot more comfortable just distilling the stuff with a good old fashioned boiler and some tubing. Throw in a bit of chlorine and ozone for flavour, and you're golden. :biggrin:
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2012
  6. Jul 31, 2012 #5
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  7. Jul 31, 2012 #6


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    I stand corrected. :redface:
  8. Aug 16, 2012 #7
    Anyone else want to give a try? To be more specific my goal is to understand how the ''plasma shockwave'' aspect of this system works. All i read in the brochures is ''a plasma shockwave kills all micro-organisms''. I want to understand how this shockwave is generated and ow it acts to kill.
  9. Aug 17, 2012 #8
    Since you refered back to the brochures it means you did not read ther links I provided. How unfortunate.
    There is sufficient information there to be able to deduce the nature of the subject. Afteral you say you are a chemical engineer and engineers are supposed to be pretty smart at taking a subject and being able to understand it with minimal information.
  10. Oct 24, 2012 #9
    Um, i could be wrong but i bet its just called plasma. From what I under stand Plasma is plasma its not liquid its not gas. The only way i know how to make plasma with a low energy signal source is under vacuum backfilling with your gas of choice and use an RF signal generator like a microwave to apply the frequency to the system.

    I aint never heard of liquids being made to plasma in no boat but maybe it happens
    What you desrcibe sounds like a good old fashioned sonicator. We use them to clean, samples, parts, and glassware in the lab. It just pulses ultrasonic frequency through the water and it breaks down all kinds of stuff. I have heard that it ruptures the cellular membranes of most eukaryotes. buy a cheap ultrasonic humidifier and stick your finger down in the water inside the machine and you'll see what Its all about.
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