Elimination of Biological Matter in Power Plant Cooling Water using Low Temperature Plasma

Award Information
Department of Energy
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
25 a
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Symbios Technologies LLC
0922 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, CO, 80523-0922
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Justin Bzdek
(970) 222-9178
Business Contact:
Justin Bzdek
(970) 222-9178
Research Institution:

Cooling water systems in thermal power plants are notoriously difficult to maintain because they provide the ideal, warm environments for the growth of algae and bacteria. This biofouling can lead to corrosion and cracking of cooling pipes in heat exchangers. Conventionally, disinfection chemicals are added into the circulation to inhibit microbial growth, but this practice requires consumable chemicals such as chlorine, and is hindered when the microbes are protected within surface-adherent biofilms leading to the need for waste-stream discharge cleanup with regulatory issues and expense. Symbios Technologies has developed a low temperature plasma technology for effectively and efficiently destroying microorganisms in water. The plasma in our system generates high oxidation potential species, and these reactive species cause rapid destruction of the biological matter, making it ideal for disinfecting power plant cooling water. The specific goals of Phase I are to design, construct, and utilize a low temperature plasma reactor to destroy selected biofouling organisms found in power plant cooling water systems, including iron reducing and sulfate reducing bacteria, pathogenic bacteria, and algae. It is the purpose of this SBIR Phase I grant request to develop and test a laboratory-scale, biological disinfection version of Symbios Technologies plasma reactor and to test the treatment concept on continuous flow of contaminated water while also offering the potential for scalability and commercial development. In Phase II of this project, a commercial-scale prototype reactor would be developed for power plant type heat exchanger applications. The overall goal of the combined Phase I and II projects is to develop a commercially viable method to control biofouling in power plant cooling water systems based on the use of our low temperature plasma technology. Other benefits of this Symbios technology include capability to provide an economical and cost-effective method to treat raw water, input water, industrial wastewater, and contaminated potable water to protect human and environmental health. It is internationally recognized that clean water is a limited economic resource, and new technologies are being sought to economically recycle and reuse processed water, especially in remote locations. Due to its low power requirements and no need for consumable chemical reagents, this apparatus would be compatible with renewable energy sources and for extended applications to remote sites, such as military bases, Superfund sites, and disaster relief operations.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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