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June 2010: Cleaning Wastewater with Sunlight

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June 2010: Cleaning Wastewater with Sunlight

Solar researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) developed a way to sanitize wastewater with the power of sunlight. The technique of photocatalytic water cleaning - combining the sun’s rays with photocatalysts - can break down organic and inorganic water contaminants. Tests at the DLR-facility in Lampoldshausen have shown that pharmaceutical agents, such as antibiotics, X-ray contrast media and hormones, can be removed as securely as chlorinated hydrocarbons from polluted groundwater or toxic materials in municipal waste water.

The heart of the technology is a solar receiver made of transparent glass pipes. The waste water, mixed with iron ions acting as photocatalysts and small quantities of hydrogen peroxide, is pumped until the desired purification level is achieved. Launched under the name RayWOx, this industrial-scale modular technology’s only energy source is sunlight. The RayWOx demonstration plant was inaugurated at the DLR Lampoldshausen-facility in November 2009. It emerged from the SOWARLA solar water treatment pilot project, which won the 2008 “World Award for Sustainability” of the Energy Globe Foundation.

To learn more about RayWox and solar-powered water cleaning click here.