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How Does an Ozone Generator Work?

What is Ozone?

Ozone is a molecule that forms when an oxygen molecule receives an extra oxygen atom. It occurs naturally through some chemical reactions, such as the creation of the ozone layer by the sun’s UV rays, and can also be produced during thunderstorms and waterfalls. While these examples are commonly associated with ozone, it is less well-known that it can also be artificially produced for disinfection. Ozone generators use high voltages or UV light to artificially create ozone by decomposing oxygen molecules, forming oxygen radicals. These radicals can then combine with oxygen molecules to form ozone (O3).

ozone oxygen cycle

How Does An Industrial Ozone Generator Work?

Have you ever been curious about how ozone generators work? Ozone generation operates on the principle of Corona discharge. It replicates lightning strikes in a controlled environment. This principle has different names depending on the type and style of the generator (dielectric barrier discharge, corona discharge, plasma block, silent corona, etc.) but is fundamentally the same. It involves a diffuse electrical discharge through a dielectric material. The electric charge applied to the electrodes causes some oxygen molecules to split apart and temporarily combine with other oxygen molecules, forming a molecule of three oxygen atoms (O3).

Ozone generators are essential in various industrial applications as they offer an affordable and effective solution for oxidation. This powerful oxidant can destroy bacteria, viruses and other harmful pollutants. Ozone generators are a perfect solution if you require an industrial ozone generator for water treatment, a commercial ozone generator for air purification, indoor air pollution control, or an advanced oxidation system.

How Does an Ozone Generator Work?

Production and Concentration

Ozone generation refers to the amount of ozone produced over time, measured in grams per hour. Ozone concentration is the quantity of ozone in volume, measured in grams per cubic meter or percentage by weight. Before purchasing an ozone generator, it is crucial to understand this concept. For instance, let’s compare two units: the first, an air-fed ozone generator producing 1 g/h of ozone from 6 LPM of air, and the second, an oxygen-fed generator creating 5 g/h from 0.5 LPM of oxygen. Now, let’s examine those numbers. We can now observe the concentration. Consider running the first units for 1 hour. The air-fed generator will provide 1 g of dissolved ozone in approximately 360 litres of air, while the oxygen-fed unit will deliver 5 g in just 30 litres. And that is the most significant difference.

Industrial Ozone Generators vs. Air Cleaners Ozone generator

Industrial ozone generators are robust devices engineered for large-scale applications in various industries, producing substantial amounts of ozone for water treatment, semiconductors, remediation, and odour control. In contrast, air cleaner ozone generators, marketed for residential or commercial use, have lower ozone output, compact designs, and focus on removing some smell in homes or offices. While these devices claim to eliminate airborne particles and odours, users must exercise caution, as excessive ozone exposure can pose health risks. Understanding the distinctions between these industrial and air-cleaner ozone generators is crucial for making informed decisions based on specific needs and usage scenarios.

The primary distinction between industrial ozone generators and air purifier ozone generators lies in the concentration of ozone they produce. Industrial generators are engineered to generate significantly higher ozone levels, suitable for large-scale applications such as water treatment and odour control in industrial environments. These devices can reach concentrations that meet the specific requirements of industrial processes. In contrast, ozone generators designed for air purification in residential or commercial settings have considerably lower ozone output.

How to size an ozone Generator

When selecting and sizing an ozone generator for a particular application, there are three crucial considerations to ensure effective results:

  1. Ozone Demand: The ozone demand is the most critical information when choosing an ozone generator for a project or application. It indicates how much ozone per volume of water or air is required to address an existing issue, typically the inactivation of bacteria or harmful contaminants. You can determine ozone demand through various means, including published scientific studies, CT (concentration-time) factor tables for bacterial deactivation, pilot testing, or governmental regulations.
  2. Volume: The volume of water, air, gas, etc., that requires treatment (m3/h, GPM, SLPM, etc.).
  3. Compensation: Proper compensation is crucial to account for factors limiting ozone’s involvement in the reaction. This compensation considers the efficiency of the ozone dissolution process, ozone concentration, and the ozone decomposition half-life. Once you determine the ozone demand, multiplying it by the volume of gas, water, etc., that needs treatment provides a theoretical amount of ozone required for your project in an ideal situation.

Implementing adequate compensation for all contributing factors limiting ozone participation in reaction factors over ozone production will prevent under sizing the ozone system and achieve better treatment results. For all industrial applications, it’s essential to note that ozone generators designed for air purification cannot effectively address the complexities of industrial challenges. While air purifier ozone generators may suffice for smaller-scale residential or commercial needs, the demands of industrial processes, such as large-volume water treatment or robust air purification in expansive spaces, often exceed their capabilities. Industrial ozone generators are specifically engineered to deliver the required ozone concentrations and volumes, ensuring successful remediation of issues like bacterial inactivation or pollutant removal. Therefore, selecting an ozone generator tailored to the specific demands of the industrial application is paramount for achieving optimal and reliable results.

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Misha Shifrin Application Engineer

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