The purpose of this summary is to discuss the technical differentiation of the Variable Electro Precipitator™ (VEP). Most Electro Coagulation units are based on using a single large reaction chamber with multiple plates or electrodes. With the VEP, the design incorporates the use of multiple small reaction chambers. The reaction chambers have a unique design that allows the number of plates that are activated, the spacing of the plates to be controlled, and the current density and polarity to be varied while the unit is in operation. These features are extremely important for effective commercial operation because in most all cases there is (1) some variance in the input water, (2) a continuous change in the plate electrical characteristics due to either plate buildup of materials on the plates or deterioration/sacrifice of the plates, and (3) a need to occasionally back flush or reverse the polarity of the plates to refresh them. In summary, the VEP can be deployed in a fashion that allows the operator to vary “on the fly” either manually or automatically each parameter in the following table.
|Active Plate Material||Plate spacing||Flow rate per reactor and chemical treatment per reactor (series or parallel operation)||Current density & Polarity across plates|
The EC challenge in commercial operation is to maintain consistent performance and minimize maintenance expense and energy consumption. The ability to have separately controllable reactors solves these challenges. However, there are clearly some applications where the input water is consistent; the current flow requirement is low, and only slow wear to the plates. In those cases, numerous EC designs can work to some degree, but there would typically still be benefits from the VEP due to lower cost of operation. The goal of the VEP design is to sustain a long EC unit life with a continual low cost of operation and high uptime.
A core component of the VEP is the unique design of the electrodes or plates. This design allows the electrical connection to be outside the reaction chamber and also allows the selection of plate to be physically or electrically adjusted. This is an important differentiator compared to other manufacturers as otherwise the electrical connection will weaken or corrode and cause hot spots or arcing. The unique electrode design provides a consistent current density and also creates the appropriate turbulence and mixing to prevent channeling. In many cases where bacteria kill is a criterion, effective mixing is essential.
The electrodes must be installed in proper order for the unit to treat water effectively depending on the treatment scheme as sequence of metal type and polarity is critical. The reactor unit will require different electrode configurations for different applications, but will typically use from six to thirteen plates depending on size of the reaction chamber and water chemistry. Depending on the properties of the water, the electrode plates required may be all metal (Zn, Al, Fe) , or a combination of metal and carbon. In the event that the reaction chamber has a combination of electrode plates, the chambers are designed to use the plastic electrode spacers in place of two of the electrode plates.