In order to see big change, you first have to start small. It can be hard to see the impact of tiny changes until they culminate in big changes.

One of the hardest to see is the primary function of the company Moleaer, which offers nanobubble technology. Moleaer operates in over 55 countries and has more than 2,400 installations of its nanobubble generators.

A Brief History of Nanobubbles

Nano-sized gas bubbles, or nanobubbles, were first hypothesized in 1994 and estimated to be approximately 100 nanometers in size. For reference, a grain of salt is nearly 2,500 times the size of a nanobubble.

A nanobubble (NB) can be created using any gas, and it can be injected into any liquid solution. Because of this, it can be utilized to fit the needs of various industries. In an article published by Accounts of Chemical Research, Ariel J. Atkinson et al. theorize that “because of the low chemical requirements to form NBs, NB technologies could be distributed throughout rapidly changing and increasingly decentralized water treatment systems in both developed and developing countries.”1

In 2016, Moleaer’s co-founder and chief technology officer, Bruce Sholten, discovered a method to produce billions of nanobubbles at an industrial scale. Sholten and co-founder Warren Russell hold a series of patents for their nanobubble technology, which they utilize in their nanobubble generators. Moleaer’s patented technology injects trillions of nanobubbles into liquid to deliver superior gas-to-liquid transfer.

Nanobubbles are non-buoyant and electrochemically active, so they degrade contaminants, enhance oxidizing processes, and reduce the surface tension of water. These characteristics enable nanobubbles to replace inefficient gas-transfer equipment and harmful chemicals with a single energy-efficient solution. Through their research, Sholten and Russell have noted benefits to the unique properties that nanobubbles display, notably an improvement in physical, chemical, and biological processes.

Aeration and Gas Transfer

Moleaer nanobubble technology has been shown by third-party testing to outperform conventional aeration technology. Its scalability in this field is due to its sustained suspension and stability in liquids until it comes in contact with surfaces or contaminants. Because of their size, nano­bubbles require far less oxygen than any other aeration technology.

Oxidation and Degradation

The use of nanobubble technology can aid in the significant reduction of contaminants without the use of added chemicals. Nanobubbles can be used to increase the presence of oxygen, which, in turn, can promote aerobic degradation, a natural process that is expedited by the nanobubbles. Likewise, the use of nanobubbles to help the dissolution of ozone gas in water can reduce the use of and reliance on harsh, oxidizing chemicals.

Physical Separation

Nanobubbles can improve physical separation practices because of their ability to adhere to materials suspended or emulsified in water. This bonding creates clumps that are more easily removed than when alternative practices are used. Across a variety of separation processes, nanobubbles have been used to remove materials like oil, colloids, fine particulates, solids, fats and grease, and surfactants.

Scouring

In food washing, drip lines, pools, and irrigation pipes, the use of harsh chemicals can damage both piping and filtration systems. Nanobubbles have been shown to scour these surfaces of unwanted buildup, removing and preventing biofilm growth, even when the piping and filtration systems are submerged.

Moleaer Today

As Moleaer’s operations take it around the globe, the company has been opening more and more offices worldwide. The most recent openings were in Norway, where Moleaer aims to support one of the world’s largest marine fishery and aquaculture production markets, and in Spain, where Moleaer opened its first manufacturing facility abroad.

Moleaer’s primary offering is its nanobubble generators, and the scale and frequency of the use of the generators can be customized across industries alongside low upfront investment costs. Moleaer’s generators and equipment can be purchased, and expert services can aid in installment and operation.

The company also offers Nanobubbles-as-a-Service, which can be a routine or temporary injection of nanobubbles into an area, depending on the needs of the facility. The Nanobubbles-as-a-Service option means some organizations can utilize these tools as needed, while other industries can purchase the technology to use in their routine operations.

Additionally, the company offers monitoring equipment to remotely track the quality of water and operating systems.

Jenn Fisher, marketing communications manager at Moleaer, explained the use of the company’s technology in horticulture with the Neo N Generator, a product that super-saturates the water with oxygen bubbles.

“In greenhouses,” Fisher said, “growers need more oxygen available in the water for healthy root development and crops. Moleaer offers a product with an oxygen concentrator and a pump so that the growers can utilize the benefits of oxygen in irrigation water.”

The generators can be modified to benefit the various industries and environments in which they operate, such as agriculture, aquaculture, food and beverage, wastewater, lakes and ponds, oil and gas, and mining.

Emergency Servicing

In addition to its use across industries, Moleaer’s nanobubble technology can also be dispatched for emergency service treatment, as in a recent case in the Dominguez Channel in Los Angeles, California. The county’s Department of Public Works relied on Moleaer’s technology to rid the water of hydrogen sulfide gas, which was causing a nauseating, rotten-egg smell across numerous communities. Moleaer sent 14 generators across the channel. At their peak performance, the generators were treating more than 40,000 gallons of water per minute, or more than 60 million gallons per day.

Moleaer’s mission is to unlock the full potential of nanobubbles to enhance and protect water, food, and natural resources. The organization’s team follows a clear, impactful set of values that guide decisions every step of the way.

It can be hard for a team to stay connected when a company’s services extend across the world, but Moleaer is more than equipped for the myriad challenges.

References

  1. Atkinson, Ariel J., Onur G. Apul, Orren Schneider, Sergi Garcia-Segura, and Paul Westerhoff. “Nanobubble Technologies Offer Opportunities to Improve Water Treatment,” Accounts of Chemical Research 52, no. 5 (May 2019): 1196-1205. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.accounts.8b00606

About the author

Keller O’Leary is managing editor at Water Conditioning & Purification International Magazine.

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