The application of ozone gas to treat water has received a bit of a negative reputation due to flawed engineering design. According to a water engineering company, the ozone gas itself was actually not at fault, but the costumers didn’t trust the ozone gas as much. However, applying ozone gas in the correct way can still reap benefits.
According to Camilla Khrulova, marketing and sales manager for Swedish water engineering company EnviroProcess, there is a lot of appeal for agricultural businesses to incorporate the use of Ozone in their process: “The appeal of using Ozone in the processing plant is due to the fact that Ozone is a powerful method against all bacterial, biofilm, viruses, or any other pathogens, Some microbes can build natural resistance to chemicals, compromising the sterility of food production equipment. But pathogens can’t resist ozone’s natural oxidization, securing your operation effectively regardless of the length of production runs or sanitation intervals. The most crucial aspect of ozone is its correct system design and integration into your process. The same properties that make this gas unique and beneficial to the industry, can result in an unsuccessful process.”
Applying ozone gas correctly is vital to it being a benefit, which is not an easy thing to do, Khruvola explains. “The ozone gas cannot be stored; it needs to be produced in situ. It gives you the advantage of not depending on your supplier of the biocidal method. The ozone gas is the most potent oxidant; hence the correct dosage needs to be calculated, considering your process, your produce, your water to ensure optimal performance. Ozone gas needs to be correctly injected and mixed to avoid gas release into the ambient air. If you experience the smell of ozone, it means that your system was not precise.”
Ozone is a delicate gas to work with, says Khrulova. “Ozone is not a novelty process and had been used for water treatment for a long time. The properties of the ozone in general and the fact that it leaves no residues on the food makes it a very appealing solution for food industry. However, the gas is very unstable, hence the need to produce it on-site and since it’s very reactive, it will react with everything and there is no way to know which reaction will be fist, hence it is important to know exactly the water quality, the produce state and processing steps, to make sure that there is enough ozone in the water.”
Ozone has gotten a bit of a reputation as mistakes were made by engineering companies in setting up the process. EnviroProcess aims to change the perspective around the gas, Khrulova says: “Not having the correct equipment to inject and mix the high concentration ozone into the water resulted in not working solutions. Unfortunately, the customers are not blaming the engineering companies for a flawed design but the actual ozone. This is what we’re trying to change, with success, with our patented process and mixing equipment.”
Khrulova claims there are many benefits for fruit producers to incorporate ozone gas into their process. “The benefits are many, direct as well as indirect ones. The direct benefit is when the customer is asking to apply ozone to treat the process water, so it is disinfected but has no chemical residues. Once ozone is applied into the water, the secondary benefits will appear as well, such as microbiology control of the product, without changing the organoleptic properties of the product, we see 4log reduction and absence of pathogens in the lab results. The equipment and piping are biofilm-free.”
“The standard concern is the safety of the ozone system and we deal with it by not letting the gas leave the water body with correct and efficient mass transfer of the gas (mixing) and inline ozone sensors in the water that can adjust the dose automatically if there is product change or a stop at the customer site. We test every single process in our lab before we send out anything, because even if the application is the same and the factories can even be located close to each other, their water supply will be different and the quality of the raw material will differ from day to day, so we request the water sample and full scale pilot either in the lab or on customer site to determine the precisely correct ozone design,” Khrulova concludes.