Steve Mines reveals how new water purification units are helping a biology department to provide a vital resource at a low cost
At the University of York, purified water is a precious resource in the biology department, and is used everywhere from the tissue culture and microbiology labs to the horticulture glasshouses where GM plants are cultivated. For all of these applications, it’s vital that purified water is available at all times.
When the department extended its research facilities 14 years ago, it decided to install a pure water ring main to supply three new research wings, as it was most economical for whole life costings and reliability. This was augmented by 14 polishing units distributed between the labs to produce purified water for around 300 people.
After 14 years of use, the polishers were showing wear and tear. This meant university technicians had to spend a lot of time repairing leaks, so the department implemented a rolling programme to replace two polishers each year.
Suez Water Purification Sytems was chosen to supply both the replacement polishers and a three-year service contract. The overwhelming reason was price: Suez was by far the most economical option – but its service contract was also both extensive and highly flexible.
The university chose two machines to begin its replacement programme: a Select Fusion and a Select Neptune Ultimate. Each unit in the Select range of water purification systems is compact, robust, simple to use and easy to maintain. The space-saving units can be placed on bench tops or wall mounted. Featuring carbon pre-treatment, deionisation and reverse osmosis technology, the units remove more than 98% of minerals and more than 99% of bacteria from water. A reverse osmosis boost pump is also fitted as standard. The units are able to produce volumes of up to 48 litres per hour - and the Select Fusion includes integral 20 litres storage as standard, with the option of adding external storage tanks that can hold up to an additional 100 litres.
Every Select system features an easy to use, LCD colour touchscreen panel. The units include a USB port, which allows all event data to be downloaded and any software updates to be installed. Both visual and audible alarms provide additional peace of mind. A complete installation kit and all consumables are included for the first year’s operation, while a semi- automatic clean cycle also helps to prolong the system’s life.
The Select Fusion is able to deliver dual water qualities: 1-10MΩ.cm (Type-II) and 18.2MΩ.cm (Type-I), with dispense rates of up to two litres per minute and the option of adding a remote dispense pod. It also has a selectable manual and volumetric dispense feature. The unit includes a 0.2μm point of use bacterial filter and 5000m.wt cut off Ultrafiltration for endotoxin, RNase/DNase removal, as well as dual wavelength (185nm/254nm) UV irradiation and an integral TOC indicator. The display shows a number of water quality parameters, including TOC, MΩ.cm, °C, in addition to flowrate. Its intelligent stand-by mode also helps to save energy when the unit is not in use.
Water on demand
The Select Neptune Ultimate uses a number of proven technologies to produce ultra-pure, 18.2MΩ.cm water on-demand. These include ion exchange cartridges that incorporate monospherical, semiconductor grade mixed bed deionising resin with a low TOC leaching profile and a high activity organic absorption media. The units also feature a sub-micron and ultrafilter to remove particles, bacteria and endotoxins. 185nm or photo- oxidising UV cleaves organic compounds into smaller charged ionic species that can be removed by ion exchange, while 254nm UV reduces bacteria by more than 99%.
The Select Neptune Ultimate recirculates purified water to maintain its quality. It also includes data capture for traceability. Each unit also features semi-automated cleaning and sanitising routines, TOC indication and alarms for cartridge, UV and filter replacement.
“I’ve been very impressed with what Suez has done,” says Lucy Hudson, operations manager at the department. “It solves problems proactively – even if a problem is not with the company’s own machine – and has helped us countless times on the ring main.”
For more information, visit www.scientistlive.com/eurolab
Steve Mines is with Suez Water Purification Systems.