As reported by Ainia, the washing of citrus products in the post-harvest can require up to 1,000 litres of water per hour per line, which entails the daily consumption of 50,000 litres of drinking water in the case of a warehouse handling 1,000 tonnes of citrus per day.
This washing process generates, in turn, wastewater containing the compounds used to "minimise" the product losses associated with deterioration or rotting before reaching the final consumer.
The prototype, with the capacity to regenerate up to 1,000 litres of water per hour, features a train of water treatment technologies that incorporates synergic processes.
Firstly, the water from the citrus washing machines is filtered to reduce the concentration of suspended particles. The filtered water is then subjected to an advanced oxidation process through the combination of ozone and ultraviolet radiation, which eliminates both emerging contaminants and microorganisms. In this way, the Eco3wash system "manages to regenerate water with optimum quality for its reuse in the washing processes," explained the institute.
For Jose B. Carbajo, project manager of Ainia, "the introduction of these types of technologies is booming because they make it possible to regenerate water for reuse in the industrial processes in a safe and sustainable manner."