NCH Europe’s Water Treatment Innovation Platform is launching a patented product for biofilm treatment. This new product, bioeXile is described as a breakthrough that has been designed to remove biofilms from water cooling systems and save plant managers money.
Biofilms are made up of bacteria that have adhered to a surface and the ‘slime’ they produce to form an insulating, protective layer around them. They spread as the bacteria multiply and insulate the pipe, making a water cooling system less effective and much more expensive to run. This product launch will help to reduce manufacturing costs for many industries that depend on cooling systems, from plastic moulding to food processing plants.
“Biofilm layers are difficult to detect, since they can be just a few microns thick,” explained Dr Simona Vasilescu, of the Water Treatment Innovation Platform at NCH Europe. “But businesses should not underestimate how much they can impact on the efficiency of a water cooling system. A 0.1mm layer of biofilm can reduce efficiency so much that the associated electricity costs of keeping everything running drastically increase, four times the amount than the additional costs resulting from a system with the same thickness of calcium carbonate scale.
“Biofilms are very difficult to remove due to the complex chemically resistant mechanism that holds them together. Our bioeXile product breaks this down, exposing the underlying bacteria to be targeted with biocide treatment.”
As well as severely affecting the heat transfer efficiency, biofilms are also associated with the spread of Legionella bacteria. Biofilms house and protect Legionella bacteria from biocides, allowing them to proliferate in safety. BioeXile breaks down the protective biofilm and exposes the Legionella bacteria that can be then controlled with biocides. There are serious consequences of leaving Legionella unchecked. Addressing the problem of biofilms will therefore give plant managers peace of mind in the fight against Legionella.
Biofilms are also a leading cause of microbiological corrosion. This type of corrosion is 10 to 100 times more aggressive than standard corrosion, partly due to the acid secretion within the biofilms. If left untreated, this can have costly consequences to ‘mission critical’ equipment in cooling systems leading to expensive repair works and down time.