SALT LAKE CITY, Oct. 13, 2010 - Microbubbles are much bigger than they sound. If all goes as planned during a demonstration project in eastern China, microbubble technology developed at the University of Utah has the potential to boost a wide range of environmental cleanup efforts around the world. Uses include removing oil and gas byproducts from water, removing organics and heavy metals from industrial sites, and removing harmful algae from lakes.
"It's very gratifying to see our technology at work in the field," says Andy Hong, who developed the new process as a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Utah. "If we are successful with this first project in China, we hope to do a lot more work there and secure additional projects in other countries."
Hong released findings of his initial experiments in 2008 and 2009 in the journal Chemosphere. His central insight is that by infusing water or soil with pressurized ozone gas microbubbles, it is possible to expose pollutants and make them easier to remove. The process is called heightened ozonation treatment or HOT.
Until recently, heightened ozonation had not been demonstrated outside of Hong's lab. The work in China is putting the new process to the test. The University of Utah has partnered with Honde LLC a large Chinese environmental cleanup company and the Chinese government to remediate an industrial site on the shore of Lake Taihu. The large lake, which is about half the size of the Great Salt Lake in Utah is adjacent to Wuxi, a major Chinese city west of Shanghai with a population of about 4.5 million.
`Lake Taihu is polluted by numerous contaminants. Wuxi is an industrial city in a region dotted with polluted factory sites. The lake receives runoff from across the region, which causes nutrients to collect in the lake and feed harmful algae.
"The lake requires extensive environmental cleanup after years of negle
|Contact: Thad Kelling|
University of Utah