IPN scientists develop hi-tech water purifier

The environment-friendly method allows to purify wastewater with gas hydrate and make it drinkable

IPN scientists develop hi-tech water purifier
Water plant operator Torrey Jones checks the clarity of a sample of treated water at the Beaver Falls Municipal Authority water treatment plant in Beaver Falls, Pa. - Photo: Keith Srakocic/AP
English 12/02/2019 17:30 Notimex Mexico City Actualizada 17:30
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Specialists of the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) have developed a hi-tech method to clean wastewater with gas hydrate and make it drinkable without damaging the environment.

The project was led by the researcher Luis Alejandro Galicia Luna, from the School of Chemical Engineering and Extractive Industries (ESIQIE), who pointed out that this scientific development carried out in the Laboratory of Thermodynamics Applied to Processes, consists of studying the diagrams of phases of mixtures containing water, gas, and polluting agents during the formation of hydrates.

Through a press release, the academic explained that the method consists of adding gas to the water and exposing it to hydrate formation temperatures to separate the polluting agents. The main advantage of this process is that it does not generate any chemical reaction as a byproduct, which makes it environment-friendly.

Experimental tests were carried out with live samples of wastewater contaminated with phenols, dyes, and other types of industrial waste. During the first phase, the chemicals underwent certain treatments for the removal of suspended solids.

Afterward, the gas hydrate technique is applied, which cleans the water without generating further chemical reactions.

Galicia Luna affirmed that the gas hydrate measurement cell works under very specific conditions of up to -20° C in temperature and pressure of up to 400 atmospheres.

"With this equipment (measurement cell) the variables subject to different conditions are monitored; the readings of this information are recorded in the computer every three seconds," he said.

Experimental tests begin by subjecting the liquid to a pressure of 20 atmospheres at room temperature and gradual cooling is applied for the hydrate formation (gas).

Once stabilized, it solidifies and with the increase in temperature it returns to the liquid state and again to the gaseous state (during this process the water is purified).

The technological procedure is still at the experimental stage, though it could prove extremely useful in industrial processes to address the prevailing need to purify wastewater.

The scientist, who is part of the National System of Researchers (SNI), Level 3, indicated that this project allows to train postgraduate students in thermodynamics, who have collaborated both in the study and in the design of the hydrate measurement cells.


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