Ambassadors from 17 African countries including Sudan, Kenya, Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire gained first-hand knowledge about a unique cost-effective, comprehensive solution for treating toxic wastewater, regardless of its chemical composition, during a fact finding visit to the Tshwane University of Technology’s Soshanguve Campus. The system was launched at the Tshwane University of Technology late in 2011.
The HybridICE® Freeze Crystallisation technology system that will revolutionise the water treatment industry is a method of using refrigeration energy to freeze out the water in a solution with dissolved chemicals. In this way, the waste heat from the refrigeration process is used to recover the contaminants as solids.
According to Mrs. Annelien Thompson from TG Medical (Pty) Limited / CS Innovation Africa, who works closely with with the African Embassies in South Africa to connect to the Ministries of Health, the HybridICE® Freeze Crystallisation technology system could go a long way in alleviating the dire need for clean, fresh water in African countries. She adds that the company is currently involved in an extensive and high level marketing drive for RDT’s (Rapid Diagnostic Testing Kits) in all countries on the African continent to address and combat Malaria.
Prof Jannie Maree, Chairperson of the Rand Water Chair of Water Utilisation at TUT explained that the HybridICE® is the first operational freeze crystallisation plant ever realised in which the water is completely separated from the toxic waste as solid ice.
“In developing the HybridICE® we have successfully pioneered a unique method to freeze out clean ice crystals. In return, the manipulation of the ice crystal enables us to recover pure water as a usable product from any toxic brine stream.” said.
Frederick Oosthuizen, who developed the technology in collaboration with Prof Maree enlightened the audience on why the technology is so unique, cost-effective and suitable for use in the African context. “In principle, this technology is a method of using refrigeration energy to freeze out the water in a solution containing dissolved chemicals. The water component is frozen out from a contaminated aqueous stream that contains dissolved chemicals and is recovered as pure ice. This treatment process requires NO addition of chemicals.”
“Interestingly, we have already achieved treatment cost of merely R15 per m³ for industrial waste water and brine stream treatment, which is a factor 10 cheaper than any other known method.
He added that when a water solution freezes, the ice crystals reject the solute. “The dissolved substances increase in concentration, allowing an operating factor ranging from 1 to 40 in the remaining water. The commercial applications of the HybridICE® Freeze Crystallisation Technology are unlimited and will create thousands of job opportunities on the continent.”
“Water scarcity is an imminent global challenge and TUT certainly has the expertise to play a vital role in developing more cost-effective, sustainable technical solutions to solve this problem in South Africa,” said Prof Pieter Marais, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science. “TUT is one of the pioneers in water treatment in the country, with a Water Care course that was introduced as far back as 1996. The University is proud of its strengths and expertise in water technology.”
Prof Marais added that project represents the pinnacle of what a university of technology should do. “We must find effective, sustainable solutions to real-world problems. The current treatment processes are energy-intensive and extremely costly to operate. The HybridICE® Freeze Crystallisation Technology is a sustainable and cost-effective method for treating toxic water. With the HybridICE® Freeze Crystallisation Technology, the cost of treatment can be reduced to as much as ten times lower than the cost of any other treatment method currently available.”
TG Medical (Pty) Limited / CS Innovation Africa