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RESEARCH PAPERS

Field Tests of the Solar Water Detoxification SOLWATER Reactor in Los Pereyra, Tucumán, Argentina

[+] Author and Article Information
Christian Navntoft

Unidad de Actividad Química, Centro Atómico Constituyentes, Comisión Nacional de Energía Atómica, Av. General Paz 1499, 1650 San Martín, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Paula Araujo

Unidad de Actividad Química, Centro Atómico Constituyentes, Comisión Nacional de Energía Atómica, Av. General Paz 1499, 1650 San Martín, Buenos Aires, Argentina; and  Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Argentina

Marta I. Litter

Unidad de Actividad Química, Centro Atómico Constituyentes, Comisión Nacional de Energía Atómica, Av. General Paz 1499, 1650 San Martín, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas; and Escuela de Posgrado, Universidad Nacional de General San Martín, Argentina

María C. Apella

 Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas; Centro de Referencia para Lactobacilos; and Facultad de Ciencias Naturales e Instituto Miguel Lillo, Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, Argentina

Diego Fernández

Facultad de Ciencias Naturales e Instituto Miguel Lillo,  Universidad Nacional de Tucumán; and  Servicio Geológico Minero Argentino, Tucumán, Argentina

María Elena Puchulu, Margarita del V. Hidalgo

Facultad de Ciencias Naturales e Instituto Miguel Lillo,  Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, Argentina

Miguel A. Blesa1

Unidad de Actividad Química, Centro Atómico Constituyentes, Comisión Nacional de Energía Atómica, Av. General Paz 1499, 1650 San Martín, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET); and Escuela de Posgrado, Universidad Nacional de General San Martín, Argentinamiblesa@cnea.gov.ar

1

Corresponding author.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 129(1), 127-134 (Jan 30, 2006) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2391318 History: Received July 05, 2005; Revised January 30, 2006

The SOLWATER reactor prototype is composed of two tubes containing a supported heterogeneous photocatalyst (Ahlstrom© paper impregnated with titanium dioxide), and two tubes containing a supported photosensitizer (designed and provided by G. Orellana, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain). The tubes are placed on a CPC collector and run in series. Electricity is provided by a solar panel, and the recirculation rate is ca13Lmin1. Total volume in the feed tank plus tubes is 20L. The reactor was designed and constructed by the consortium of a European research project whose objective is on the development of a fully autonomous solar reactor system to purify drinking water in remote locations of developing countries. The prototype was placed in the yard of a shanty house in Los Pereyra, Tucumán, Argentina. Water to feed the reactor is taken from the shallow aquifer through an open well. This water is contaminated with high counts of coliforms and Enterococcus faecalis. It also contains widely variable levels of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The chemical composition of the water shows high levels of natural organic matter and of various inorganic pollutants. The reactor has been running since February 22, 2005. This paper presents the results collected in three months of operation. Around 4hr operation on a sunny day, and 56hr on a cloudy day are required to totally destroy fecal coliforms and Ent. faecalis. Even 24h after the experiment is concluded, no cultivable bacteria are seen by the membrane filtration method (measured colony forming units after 24hr=0). On the other hand, a small number of total coliforms remain (a few percent or less of the original count) at the end of some of the latest experiments. Possible explanations for this result are the drop in ambient temperature, the decrease in solar irradiance, and the exhaustion of the catalyst and sensitizer. P. aeruginosa is much more resistant, and only partial destruction is observed in those time intervals. The evolution of chemical parameters is also presented and discussed.

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Copyright © 2007 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

(a) Flowchart of the reactor; the lower two tubes contain the photocatalyst and the upper two the photosensitizer. PR, Photoreactor; SP, Solar Panel; BAT, Battery; CC, Charge Controller; P, Pump; V, Valve; RT, Recirculation Tank; TC, Thermocouple; R, Rotameter; F, Fittings. (b) View of the reactor on site.(c) Schematic side view.

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Figure 2

Location of wells sampled in Los Pereyra. The big square indicates the house of the Amaya family.

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Figure 3

(a) pH and (b) DO before (shaded box) and after (white box) treatment; experiments are identified, as in Table 4.

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Figure 4

SEM pictures of the supported photocatalyst: (a) before use; (b) after three months operation. Magnification: 250×. The small grained material in (b) is CaCO3, as seen by EDS.

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Figure 5

SEM pictures of the photosensitizer strip: (a) before use; (b) after three months operation. Magnification: 50×. The white deposit in (b) is CaCO3.

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Figure 6

Bacterial counts (CFU/100mL) at exposure times 0, 3, and 6hr: (a) total coliforms, (b) fecal coliforms, (c) Ent. faecalis, and (d) P. aeruginosa. For the code of each experiment, see Table 4.

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