I just got back from attending a recent International Ultraviolet Association (IUVA) Conference. The International Ultraviolet Association was founded in 1999. It’s goal is to advance the science, engineering and applications of UV technologies to enhance the quality of human life and protect the environment. It is a leading knowledge base and voice for UV technologies. It has become a relevant authority for water and waste water treatment, however more needs to be done to include residential, industrial, air and healthcare applications.
I recently joined the IUVA’s Board of Directors to increase participation from folks working on air treatment. I think interacting with the IUVA would open up new avenues for air treatment applications, increase contacts among UV experts, and improve the relevancy by combining forces with leading water treatment researchers, consultants and companies.
In August 2012 the IUVA had it’s conference on “Moving Forward: Sustainable UV Solutions to Meet Evolving Regulatory Challenges” in Washington DC. At the conference I attended only a handful of the many excellent presentations (I could only be in one place at one time!). This blog summarizes a few of the cool things I learned at the conference. There were only 2 papers on air treatment, one that I gave discussing the current state of UV and what I think is needed to increase its application, and a second on surface disinfection technologies for healthcare facilities to decrease hospital-acquired infections.
Stig Regli (Senior Leader and Policy Advisor for the U.S. EPA Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water) gave the opening address. He shared that there was very limited use of UV in public drinking water prior to 2000. There was more use in the 1990s in wastewater treatment. Healthcare concerns from disinfection by-products and cryptosporidium became big drivers for new water treatment technologies in the 1990s. In 2006 the stage 2 rules came out identifying UV as a critical technology.
Gen. R.L. “Van” Van Antwerp (former Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) gave a rousing talk at lunch. He shared his ideas about how to sell UV. First he suggested “painting the box top,” or making it more interesting/attractive/eye-catching. Then he said that to persuade people to go with UV, they have got to know that they will serve the people by doing this. The people here in the US and other nations will be better off using UV. This will be a main reason they will be willing to invest. Finally we need to develop the people – educate and teach students about UV.
Harold Wright at Carollo Engineers talked about the UV Validation Facility built in Portland, OR to test UV reactors for water treatment. Imagine having such a facility for air treatment! It is set up as a single pass configuration and tests at least 2-5 different organisms.
Sara Beck at my own institution, the University of Colorado Boulder, presented her current PhD research with Karl Linden. She is working on a better understanding of polychromatic UV inactivation of virus with medium pressure lamps. It has been found that some virus inactivation (like for adenovirus) is more effective with medium pressure – why? She is looking at both nucleic acid and protein damage together and testing single stranded MS2 and the double stranded adenovirus. Stay tuned, this is a great project! I’d like to see a detailed assessment like this for air treatment with UV…
Brian Hilts with CDM Smith presented UV system sizing methods for wastewater: (1) point source summation and (2) bioassay field tests on reactors with surrogates. I was intrigued with the performance tests – they went out to a facility and grabbed 10 samples upstream and downstream of the UV reactor over 3 days and assessed the E.coli concentrations. Hmmm, could we do this with an air treatment system in a healthcare facility, sample for flu?
Christina Barstow, an Engineering for Developing Communities PhD student at CU presented her work on smart UV systems in Rwanda. She works with Manna Energy Ltd – “Energy for Life” – which is a social enterprise. They promote clean technology, reducing carbon footprints, and selling the carbon credits on the market. For example, using UV to treat drinking water reduces the amount of biomass used to boil water, and voila! – carbon emissions are reduced. Manna Energy Ltd received the 1st United Nations carbon credit for water treatment. They are working on a community scale, for example with 100 girls at a school using local expertise and employment. The smart UV systems are designed to help improve the operation and maintenance of UV water systems there by increasing use and lifetime.
Last but not least one of the coolest things that was happening at IUVA was the presence of NASA scientists and engineers who are partnering to educate young people and help them get excited about science and engineering. NASA and IUVA are partnering to educate about UV!