is Ozone? General Information
by "Author Unknown"
[Editor's Note: Although
the author is unknown, this article provides thought provoking
Ozone is a naturally occurring component of fresh air. It can
be produced by the ultra- violet rays of the sun reacting with
the Earth's upper atmosphere, which creates a protective ozone
layer, or it can be created artificially with an ozone generator.
The ozone molecule contains three oxygen atoms whereas the oxygen
molecule contains only two. Ozone is a very reactive and unstable
gas with a short half-life before it reverts back to oxygen.
Ozone is the most powerful and rapid acting oxidizer man can
produce, and will oxidize all bacteria, mould and yeast spores,
organic material and viruses.
A Brief History Of Ozone
Ozone has played a significant role in the waste treatment process
in the past and will continue to do so in the future. The utilization
of ozone in industrial situations has a long and impressive history,
one that pre-dates current environmental concerns. The American
Indians, for whom fishing was a central industry, recognized
a correlation between a successful catch and a strange odor released
by the action of lightning after an electric storm. On the other
side of the globe the ever astute Greeks had also noticed the
odor (and so defined it "ozein") and like the Indians,
preferred fishing after a storm, which is still practiced today.
The explanation for this natural phenomenon is that after an
electric storm the upper layer of water in lakes is enriched
with diluted oxygen and therefore naturally ozonated. The positive
influence of ozone on the digestive system of different species
of fish has been scientifically documented. The closed loop for
fish-farming is only possible with ozone because of its ability
to destroy viruses responsible for many diseases in fish culture.
The most common use of ozone is for the treatment of water. In
1906 group of scientists and doctors studied the ozonation system
at the Oudshoorn plant in Holland and later constructed a 19,000
m3/day (5 mgd) plant using ozonation for disinfection - at Nice,
France. Nice is therefore referred to as "the birthplace
of ozonation for drinking water treatment".
Formation Of Ozone
The formation of oxygen into ozone occurs with the use of energy.
This process is carried out by an electric discharge field as
in the CD-type ozone generators (corona discharge - simulation
of the lightning), or by ultraviolet radiation as in UV-type
ozone generators (simulation of the ultra-violet rays from the
sun). In addition to these commercial methods, ozone may also
be made through electrolytic and chemical reactions.
Ozone And Its Applications
Ozone is not only a very powerful oxidizing agent but also a
very powerful non- chemical disinfectant. It has the unique feature
of decomposing to a harmless nontoxic environmentally safe material,
namely oxygen. In Europe, ozone is used for many purposes: color
removal, taste and odor removal, turbidity reduction, organics
removal, microflocculation, iron and manganese oxidation, and
most commonly, bacterial disinfection and viral inactivation.
Most of these applications are based on ozone's high oxidizing
power. Ozone can be introduced at different points in the water
treatment process, depending on its intended application. When
used for iron and manganese oxidation or to induce flocculation,
it is usually introduced early, and when used for taste and odor
removal it is introduced at an intermediate point. In European
water treatment practices, ozonation is recognized as a preferred
method of virus inactivation rather then just an alternative
to the use of chlorine for disinfection.
Nine out of ten diseases, including the common cold and the flu,
are caused by water or airborne bacteria and viruses. Like chlorine,
ozone kills microorganisms. The sterilization action of ozone
is by "direct kill attack" and oxidation of the biological
material. The rate of bacteria killed by Ozone is 3500 times
faster than with chlorine. Virus destruction with ozone is instantaneous,
safe and foolproof, as ozone is nature's own purifier. Chlorine's
reactive oxidant is hypochloric acid which is formed when chlorine
is dissolved in water. This powerful oxidant will have significant
long term negative effects on our water sources. Ozone, on the
other hand, has no side effects as far as the treatment of water
is concerned. It has properly been described as the "add-nothing" sterilant.
In Eastern Canada, there are approximately 100 ozone plants for
the treatment of municipal water, as well as many large industrial
plants for water processing and waste water treatment. The principal
applications for ozonation systems (single ozone generators are
rarely sold) are as follows:
Air Treatment Fish canneries Process water Aquaculture Fish hatcheries
Pools and Spas Bottled water Hot springs pools Potable water
Cooling towers Industrial waste Therapeutic use Fish boats Odor
Control Waste water There are hundreds of commercial applications
and new emerging applications being developed.