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Solar UV Disinfection of Drinking Water for Developing Countries

Solar UV Disinfection of Drinking Water for Developing Countries

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An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards (Ireland) Competition by John Murtagh. Originally submitted for TR032 at Trinity College, University of Dublin, with lecturer Dr. Laurence Gill in the category of Environmental and Geosciences
An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards (Ireland) Competition by John Murtagh. Originally submitted for TR032 at Trinity College, University of Dublin, with lecturer Dr. Laurence Gill in the category of Environmental and Geosciences

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 31, 2012
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10/27/2013

 
Solar UV DisinfectionU.A. 2010
PARAMETERS OF PHOTOCATALYTIC AND PHOTOLYTICSOLAR UV DISINFECTION
“Access to safe water is a fundamental human need and, therefore a basichuman right. Contaminated water jeopardizes both the physical and socialhealth of all people. It is an affront to human dignity”
-Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General
ABSTRACT
Recently the field of UV disinfection has gathered some momentum in thewastewater treatment industry. UV disinfection has a low cost, short contacttime and is efficient against parasites such as cryptosporidium. Solar UV canalso be used quite effectively in drinking water treatment in developingcountries at a low cost. This object of this project was to compareillumination areas and regimes in order to optimize disinfection. It was foundthat in the presence of a photocatalyst, dose was not directly proportional todisinfection and this lead to the proposal of a novel solution for a continuous-flow drinking water treatment system for developing countries.
INTRODUCTION
 The use of solar UV as a disinfectant has long been known. It was firstrecorded over 2000 years ago in a Sanscrit text “Oriscruta Sanhita”(Patwardhan, 1990). The first rigorous scientific study was not carried outuntil 1887 (Downes and Blunt). They showed that development of bacteria ina nutrient broth and urine could be stopped by exposure to the sun. The practical use of this discovery was not fully exploited until Aftim Acraproposed it as a method for the disinfection of drinking water in the 1980’s.Acra proposed the use of a batch reactor (SODIS) method in developingcountries where there was an abundance of sunlight but little financial assets
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Solar UV DisinfectionU.A. 2010
for long-term investments (Acra et al., 1980). An estimated 2.5 millionpeople use this SODIS method (EAWAG/SANDEC, 2008).In recent years the focus has shifted towards developing a continuous flowsolar reactor and identifying the parameters to maximise the disinfection of water. Optimum conditions such as turbidity, temperature, materials,exposure time, photocatalysts etc. have all been studied. Researchers havereached a general consensus that for solar disinfection to occur, 3-5 hours of sunlight above 500Wm
-2
are required (Oates et al., 2003). In someexperiments it has been indicated that a mechanism other than classical UVkinetics may be acting on the system. It was also found in severalexperiments that intermittent flashes of light followed by dark periodsenhanced the solar disinfection kinetics. It was proposed that “dark zones”induced a stress on the bacteria which increased the disinfection kinetics(McLoughlin et al, 2006) and that there is an optimum balance betweenfrequency of flash, length of flash and subsequent dark period. This may beexplained by the interaction well established light repair mechanisms andthe recently published “Memory Anti-Bacterial Effect” described by Li
et al.(2009)
.Similar “pulsed” UV light has previously been used in wastewater, drinkingwater treatment and applications of food preservation. However this hasmostly been done at much shorter wavelengths and using much higherintensities. Sunlight reaching the earth is filtered by the ozone layer allowingonly longer wave radiation to pass through. The term “strobe” has been usedin this project to distinguish between the lower intensity larger wavelengthdisinfection in natural sunlight and the more intense shorter wavelengthdisinfection used in “pulsed” disinfection. The objectives of this project wereto examine further this “stroboscopic” effect on disinfection kinetics byvarying the illumination regime while keeping the illuminated area constantin both the presence and absence of TiO
2
.
2
 
Solar UV DisinfectionU.A. 2010
A novel disinfection method was proposed with an increase in disinfectionefficiency due to both the induced “stress” and increased heat (dark patchescould potentially act as black body absorbers in actual sunlight conditions)and reduce the need for expensive reflector materials. The appearance of astroboscopic mechanism was confirmed in the presence but not in theabsence of titanium dioxide. The comparison of experiments with respect toUV Dose was questioned and the prominence of specific disinfectionmechanisms was inferred.
METHOD
Materials
Figure 1-Diagram of Reactor Used
A small-scale compound parabolic reactor was used, which consisted of sixparallel Pyrex tubes (9.6 mm dia.), each 250 mm long, connected by opaqueplastic tubing. The half acceptance angle of the reflector was 90
0
and theconcentration ratio was approximately 1. The closed loop reactor wasconnected in series to a centrifugal pump (2.8 L/min, giving a fluid velocity of 0.64 m/s) pumping from a 1 L reservoir which was located in the dark. The
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