Environmental Treatment Concepts Ltd
Water that is naturally hard, as in 70% of the UK and most other countries, contains dissolved calcium and other minerals. These help to build and maintain healthy bodies, but their effect on pipework and water systems can be disastrous.
When water-borne minerals, such as calcium bicarbonate, revert to their solid carbonate state, limescale is formed in water systems and this narrows pipes, blocks jets, slows the flow, reduces thermal efficiency and provides a breeding ground for bacteria.
Electronic water descaling has come a long way in the past ten years. ENiGMA overcomes the shortcomings of other physical water treatment systems by electronically generating the full range of frequencies required, at just the right intensity, thus ensuring consistent results over the full range of applications. In the newly developed second generation units, industrial microprocessors ensure reliable signal generation and control.
The ENiGMA has been successfully installed for customers from all sections of commerce, industry and government, providing a simple and economical solution to the limescale problem.
Research has shown that just 6 mm of limescale can reduce energy efficiency by a staggering 40%, and, in moderately hard water area, 6 mm of limescale can form in pipework, or on heat exchangers in just 2 years. This in turn results in higher running costs. Billions of pounds are wasted every year in increased energy bills, lost production and early renewal of capital equipment.
Bacteria, including Legionella Pneumophila, proliferate in water systems with even moderate amounts of scaling, particularly in systems where scale prevents water reaching sufficient temperature to act as a biocide. Isolation valves are often impossible to close due to scaling. Safety or pressure relief valves often stick due to scale.
ENiGMA is an environmentally friendly innovation which helps keep swimming pools clean and reduces maintenance costs. It was winner of the 1994 Ideal Home Exhibition’s Award of Excellence in the Environment Category for keeping Swimming Pools clean without the use of excessive, corrosive chemicals. Enigma serves to
- reduce swimming pool maintenance by up to 50%
- reduce the use of chlorine by around 35%
- remove scum deposits from the pool edge
- return stainless steel fittings to their former pristine condition
- remove limescale from within the swimming pool plant
- obviate the need for chemical stabilisers to correct the pH balance
- pay for itself in under 2 years
Kedgwick Limited, based in Ossett in West Yorkshire, were denim conditioners for numerous UK manufacturers of denim clothing: this involved stonewashing, dyeing and applying special 'finishes' to the garments. Almost all the industrial processes involved water and so all the water entering the works passed through a large softening plant to avoid scaling problems. The problems with scale, however, arose with the effluent water that was produced once the processes were finished.
After the ENiGMA had been operating for around one month the built-up hard scale on the filter cloths of the filter press began to come off. The scale build-up on the pumps was also very much reduced. The main effluent pipework usually showed 40-50mm of scale when jetted out during shutdown, but this reduced to no more than 10-15mm - a 75% reduction.
Despite maintaining a good water treatment regime, thin layers of scale can form in a chiller’s tubes, increasing the thermal resistance of the heat exchanger and subsequently dramatically increasing the energy costs. The thermal conductivity of calcium carbonate is 4,000 times smaller than that of copper and therefore even the thinnest coating acts as an effective heat insulator. The knock-on effect of this is to increase the head pressure, resulting in a significant increase in energy consumption of the compressor.
Despite good water treatment, chillers will almost certainly always have a thin coating of scale in their tubes. From ETC’s observations, a mechanically cleaned system about to be put back into operation, often has a calcium layer approximately 15thou thick. Should an electronic descaler be employed, this layer would simply be dissolved and removed by the water, saving the user thousands in energy costs.