An intriguing new area in the world of water purification over the last few years is called advanced oxidation processes (AOP). This term involves new forms of oxidation to clean water, such as hydrogen peroxide, ozone, and better methods of aeration.
The newest, most advanced AOP in use is superoxide, an oxygen molecule with an extra electron (O2-).
Superoxide (SO) has been known since the 1890s, but until the last 20 years scientific research was limited due to difficulties producing very much of it.
In the 1890s, chemist Hank Fenton discovered that SO preferentially reacted with the carbon atom in any organic pollutant, creating carbon dioxide and various other compounds based on the composition of the organic compound. The result is that an organic pollutant can be taken apart with no secondary pollutants. The remnants of these pollutants return to the environment as CO2, water, hydrogen, and other raw elements.
Over the past two decades, technology created better, easier ways of making SO. It’s becoming apparent that the molecule is a superior treatment for organic pollutants. In water, these pollutants include excessive nutrients and algae.
Superoxide’s application for water treatment is growing, thanks to new technology that can produce SO in larger quantities. One example is the KRIA Ionizer, created in 2001 by a Japanese tech company. This technology was the first to produce SO in the quantities needed to treat water on a large scale.
To create SO, the KRIA Ionizer draws air from the atmosphere and runs it through a filtering process that removes the nitrogen. This enables the output to be 92% pure oxygen.
At the same time, electrons are collected by a process involving ceramics, various minerals, and a magnetic field. These electrons are attached to the oxygen and injected into circulating water by a nano nozzle that produces extremely small bubbles, to better penetrate pollutants.
Once in the water of a lake, river, or reservoir, the SO spreads, destroying any organic pollutants that it encounters within a half-mile radius and up to 330 feet below the surface.
Pollutant remediation covers anything organic such as polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), cyanobacteria, hydrocarbons, and anaerobic bacteria. The first public use was in a lake in the Ueno Park Zoo in Tokyo, where it cleaned the lake of excessive amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and algae.