Uncle Bobs Tips: Generator Guide

Chlorine Dioxide Generators

The design of chlorine dioxide generators has significant advantages.

Chlorine dioxide is a broad-spectrum biocide whose main use is to control microorganisms. Chlorine dioxide's special properties make it an ideal choice to meet the challenges of today's environmentally concerned world. It is also an ideal replacement for chlorine, providing all of chlorine's benefits without any of its detriments. Chlorine dioxide does not chlorinate organic material, thus resulting in decreased amounts of trihalomethanes (THMs), haloacetic acids (HAAs) and other chlorinated organic compounds. This is particularly important in chlorine dioxide's primary use, water disinfection. Other properties of chlorine dioxide make it more effective than chlorine, requiring a lower dose and resulting in a lower environmental impact:

It is a weaker, more selective oxidizer than chlorine. It has 2.6 times the oxidizing capacity of chlorine. Unlike chlorine, it does not react with ammonia, ammonium or most organic compounds. Unlike chlorine, chlorine dioxide is biocidal over a very broad pH range.

Chlorine dioxide's unique properties have a tremendous impact on how it is marketed and applied. Chlorine dioxide is extremely volatile and cannot be transported safely in compressed gas cylinders like chlorine gas. Therefore, a chlorine dioxide generator is used on-site to produce chlorine dioxide. Chlorine dioxide is generated when the feed chemical sodium chlorite is added to either chlorine gas (Cl2), hypochlorous acid (HOCl), or hydrochloric acid (HCl). During chlorine dioxide generation, the chlorine dioxide generator monitors temperature and pH levels. Chlorine dioxide should not be used as a disinfectant when the storage temperature of the sodium chlorite falls below 40'F (4'C); at which point sodium chlorite becomes separated into layers (stratification) and can damage the storage vessel.

There are many applications for chlorine dioxide generators. Chlorine dioxide uses include:
Disinfecting drinking water.
THM and HAA control in drinking water.
Bacterial control in cooling water.
Bacterial control in paper processing and circuit board cleansing in the electronics industry.
Sanitizing the uncut fruits and vegetables.
Controlling bacteria in produce flume water.
Controlling bacteria in poultry processing.
Controlling bacteria in beverage and brewing equipment.
Sanitizing food processing facilities and equipment.

How chlorine dioxide generators work:
The water required to feed and dilute the chemicals enters the chlorine dioxide generator through a feed rate meter under vacuum. The vacuum is created by water passing through an eductor. The chemicals are drawn into the educator through rate-controlling rotameters, mix with the water and then flow into a reaction column where the reaction is completed, giving a yield of 95% or higher. From the column the chlorine dioxide solution flows past a pH probe before leaving the chlorine dioxide generator.

This design of chlorine dioxide generators has significant advantages. The use of dilution water to draw feed chemicals into the generator ensures that chlorine dioxide concentrations are always kept in a safe range. The use of a vacuum feed system means that any leaks in the feed chemical lines will not spill chemicals, but rather draw air into the generator. The pH probe continuously monitors the generator performance. Note that for proper operation the chlorine dioxide generator must be kept in a narrow pH range. Below this range, excess chlorine converts chlorine dioxide to chlorate ion; above this range the lack of chlorine results in un-reacted chlorite ion.

A chlorine dioxide generator is safe and effective for both large and small-scale industrial and commercial applications. Many of its uses are US EPA, FDA, and UK Government approved, and highly recommended by many researchers and research establishments throughout the world. To select your chlorine dioxide generator, experienced field engineers are available to assist you with site-specific requirements, on-site start-up, training and technical support.

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