Eltron Water Systems

New Catalyst Reduces Energy Demand, Costs for H2O Purification

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CWAO increases contaminant removal compared to existing commercial catalysts


  • Total destruction of organic compounds
  • Less severe operating conditions reduces capital and operating costs
  • Reduced catalyst cost due to the absence of expensive metals
  • Outperforms commercial catalysts in side-by-side tests

Wastewater production is an ongoing concern due to increasing populations, industrialization, urbanization and agriculture. In response, wastewater production regulations have become more stringent. Common wastewater remediation systems including wet air oxidation (WAO) and supercritical wet air oxidation (SWAO) require high
temperatures and high pressures. Such extreme operating conditions result in very high operating costs.

More cost-effective solutions for clean-up of industrial waste streams from refineries, coke ovens, organic chemical production facilities, pharmaceutical factories, pulp and paper mills, and other similar sources must be found to provide water suitable for drinking and use by industries.

Eltron’s Solution

Eltron has developed a family of catalysts designed for destruction and low temperature removal of high chemical oxygen demand (COD) and biological oxygen demand (BOD) materials in water. Experimental results for our patent pending catalytic wet-air oxidation (CWAO) methodology have shown 100% destruction of organic compounds in water at temperatures from 70°C to 150°C and pressures as low as 135 psig. Catalytic activity for significant destruction of organics was also demonstrated at ambient temperature and pressure.

Ethanol, acetic acid, amino acids (glycine, aspartic acid, arginine), and saccharides (glucose, lactose, starch) were used as target contaminants for evaluating catalyst performance. The total organic carbon (TOC) was measured as a function of time, temperature, and pressure.

Features and Benefits

Eltron’s technology enables better contaminant removal at lower pressures and temperatures than legacy technology, lowering the operating costs. Eltron’s catalyst material also costs much less than those used in traditional oxidation technologies.

CWAO is used to purify municipal and residential water, and wastewater from industries such as pulp and paper mills, breweries, and chemical processing plants. These materials could also be used for remediation or daily clean-up of industrial waste streams from refineries, coke ovens, organic compounds production facilities, pharmaceutical factories, and many other sources. The technology will also effectively remove chemical and biological warfare agents accidentally or maliciously introduced into water supplies.

Variation in test conditions employed by various laboratories make it difficult to directly compare results from different catalyst systems. However, Eltron’s catalysts out- performed commercial catalysts in side-by-side tests. Recent literature reports for precious-metal supported on mesoporous silica showed some activity at room temperature and pressure, though approximately 1.4 kg (2 L) of catalyst would be needed to produce 220 lbs. of water, enough for a crew of four for one day. The amount of Eltron catalysts necessary to produce the same amount of water at ambient temperature and pressure is 0.166 kg (0.1 L), a significant decrease in size and a critical consideration in
spacecraft applications.


About Eltron Water Systems
Eltron Water Systems focuses on commercializing innovative, cost-effective water treatment technologies valuable to industries, utilities, and government organizations. The company draws on resources from its parent company, Eltron Research & Development, to explore practical, green solutions for preserving one of our most important and useful natural resources, water.

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