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UV News Note: These UV news items have been gleaned from the Internet. The UV news are partially reproduced as found. AAW takes no responsibility for their accuracy. The links to the full UV articles were active at the time of posting.

UV Articles 2012

UV News Pulsed UVC irradiation selectively kills cancer cells

A new and highly effective cancer therapy that irradiates cancer cells with ultraviolet C (UVC) light has been developed at the Tokai University School of Medicine in Japan.

The new method employs high intensity-UVC pulse flash rays (UVCPFR) of a broad UVC spectrum (230 to 280 nm) produced by a modified UV-flash sterilization system (BHX200).

The pulsed nature of the spectrum enhances the efficiency of destruction of neoplastic cells. Importantly, the research demonstrates that under the appropriate UVC irradiation conditions only neoplastic cell are destroyed, and non-neoplastic cells do not reach conditions of cell death.

Background, results, and implications

The well-known 'germicidal light' of low pressure mercury lamps (UV lamp) is widely used for sterilizing medical instruments. However, it takes several hours for the weak light from UV lamps to have their germicidal effects.

In contrast, the sterilization effects of UV pulsed flash rays (wavelengths of 230–280nm and peak wavelength of 248 nm) show promise as more efficient and rapid means of destroying a wider range of bacteria because this type of irradiation produces light whose energy is tens of thousands of times greater for a given area of irradiation, compared with conventional UV lamps (65W equivalency).

UVC pulse flash rays (UVCPFR) with 1–10 continuous flashes per second can be produced by powerful discharge of xenon gas. Johbu Itoh and colleagues at the Tokai University School of Medicine has developed and established UVCPFR therapy system for cancer therapy.

MCF7: neoplastic cell, COS7:non-neoplastic cell. The Ultra Violet C (UVC) pulse flash irradiation only selectivity caused death of neoplastic cells, and not non-neoplastic cells.

The researchers irradiated cells with pulsed light UVCPFR and caused functional disorder to produce cell injury and/or a functional obstruction only to neoplastic cells. Higher ultraviolet radiation sensitivity in the UVC range was observed in neoplastic cells compared to non-neoplastic cells. That is, a short burst of ultraviolet radiation was sufficient to selectively induce injury and death to neoplastic cells.

Furthermore, experiments showed UVCPFR to cause cell death within a few seconds. One of the major features of this method is that below a certain range of irradiation conditions, damage to intact or non-neoplastic cells can be largely ignored, and only neoplastic cells die. This method offers a simple means of reducing the burden on patients undergoing cancer therapy.

Details of these findings were described by Johbu Itoh at the International Congress of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry (ICHC 2012) in Kyoto this week.

Itoh and colleagues plan to develop this system compatible for cancer treatment using endoscopy, laser microscopy, and other such light irradiation equipment.

UV News UV Experience for Inactivating Cryptosporidium in Surface Water Plants
Wateronline.com / Authors: Keith Bircher, G. Elliott Whitby and John Platz

Regulatory Background - The disinfection of pathogenic microbes in drinking water has been successful over the last century largely due to the use of chlorination. However, research conducted in the 1970’s revealed that by-products formed during the chlorination process are potentially carcinogenic and that there is a direct correlation between the concentration of chlorination by-products and the probability of certain cancers and other health problems. Following these discoveries, drinking water regulators have struggled within the confines of technological and economic limitations to find a balance between the benefits of chlorination and its harmful side effects.

In the U.S.A., the Surface Water Treatment Rule (SWTR) of 1989 mandates inactivation levels for Giardia cysts and enteric viruses, and also sets treatment standards for Trihalomethanes (THM’s, a common disinfection by-product). The SWTR provides guidance to drinking water facilities through “CT” tables that prescribe the inactivation efficacy of various processes under varying water quality conditions. By following this guidance, most water treatment plants were able to provide an adequate degree of disinfection while not compromising their Disinfection By-Product (DBP) limits and without requiring major changes to their plants. However, continuing DBP health effect research indicated that even the DBP standards required in the SWTR of 1989 produced an unacceptable level of risk and the SWTR was amended in 1996 to lower the level of DBP’s. The new DBP standards have caused many plants to fall out of compliance, requiring either extensive plant modifications or new disinfection strategies. In addition, a major outbreak of cryptosporidiosis in Milwaukee in 1993, and other minor cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis outbreaks caused regulators to create a removal requirement for Cryptosporidium oocysts in the 1998 Interim Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (IESWTR) and a further treatment requirement in the Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2ESWTR) which was promulgated in December 2005. The LT2ESWTR includes a treatment requirement for Cryptosporidium and many surface water plants will fall out of compliance due to the very poor ability of chlorination to inactivate Cryptosporidium. A void was created for water treatment technologies that will inactivate protozoa and viruses, not create DBPs, and are economically feasible. One technology that meets all three criteria is ultraviolet (UV) disinfection.

Ultraviolet light has long been known to be effective for the inactivation of viruses and bacteria in drinking water and guidelines for the disinfection of viruses with UV light exist in the U.S. EPA Alternative Disinfectants and Oxidants Guidance Manual. However prior to 1998, UV was widely considered to be ineffective at economically feasible UV doses for encysted protozoa (like Giardia and Cryptosporidium), as it was thought that UV would have to rupture the cyst membrane wall. Since Giardia was the controlling microbe for the determination of the dose of chlorine and since the UV dose required for Giardia was believed to be completely too high to be considered, no reductions in chlorine usage could be gained by using UV. As a result, UV disinfection was not used for drinking water in North America; however it has been and continues to be used extensively in Europe for groundwater.

Breakthrough research conducted by Calgon Carbon Corporation in 1997 and 1998 proved that UV disinfection is, in fact, very effective for inactivating Cryptosporidium and Giardia at low UV doses. Subsequent to Calgon Carbon’s research, the U.S. EPA created a UV working group to report to the Federal Advisory Committee (FACA) on issues and costs related to UV disinfection, resulting in the development of the UV Disinfection Guidance Manual (UVDGM) by the U.S. EPA and the promulgation of the LT2ESWTR. Many utilities are now using or are considering UV disinfection in their plants as either an additional barrier for protozoa disinfection or to get disinfection credits for Cryptosporidium and/or Giardia and to lower chlorine doses to meet the 1998 DBP standards.

Read complete article: UV Experience for Inactivating Cryptosporidium in Surface Water Plants /PDF/

UV News October 24, 2012: “UV light strengthens plant and kills infections"
freshplaza.com / Author: Edith Mostert / Source: Horti Fair / Publication date: 10/24/2012

UV Light
UV light strengthens plants and kills infectious
bacteria and fungi


Fighting fungi, bacteria and viruses with light? It’s possible, according to Ries Neuteboom of CleanLight. During last year’s Horti Fair the company demonstrated a fully automatic boom mount with UV lamps attached to it. The sprayer recently won them a prize. But how does it work?

“By treating crops daily with CleanLight (UV), all bacteria and fungi are killed,” says Neuteboom. “That saves money on pesticides: up to 50% according to our data. And of course UV leaves no residues.”

But isn’t UV treatment harmful to crops? No, says Neuteboom. “The crops are only lit 1 or 2 seconds a day. And the light only strengthens the plant.”

Applying CleanLight is easy. “CleanLight is meant as a pre-emptive measure. You use it to prevent infections. The units can be installed on existing greenhouse equipment, like sprayers and boom mounts. But handheld UV units can also be used, as we see in Kenya, Ethiopia and Ecuador.”

This year’s show at Horti Fair promises another surprise. “Last year we introduced the fully automatic boom mount with UV lamps. But this year we really have a first! A robot with CleanLight. It moves autonomously across a cable!”

UV News October 21, 2012: UV Light Could Bust Hospital-Acquired Infections
huffingtonpost.com / Author: Katherine Harmon

UV light can kill almost all of the nasty bugs from the surfaces of a hospital room

About 1.7 million Americans each year acquire new infections during hospital stays—and hospital-acquired infections are one of the top five causes of death overall, killing 44,000 to 98,000 people in the U.S. each year.

Nasty Clostridium difficile can lurk on door handles and other surfaces, leading to severe intestinal distress; Acinetobacter can also survive in the open air, threatening to cause pneumonia, urinary tract infections and blood infections; and vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE) is tough to beat with other drugs and can infect wound and catheter sites, as well as the bloodstream. Even a thorough traditional cleaning by staff, with disinfecting sprays, can leave spots untouched—and dangerously contaminated.

A new study finds that a certain frequency of ultraviolet (UV) light can kill almost all of these nasty bugs from at least the surfaces of a hospital room—even when not directly exposed to the light.

A team of researchers sampled five high-contact areas in hospital bedrooms and bathrooms (such as bed rails, toilets and remote controls) where patients with C. difficile, Acinetobacter or VRE infections had been staying. They then brought in a machine outfitted with eight bulbs to emit short-wave UV radiation (UV-C) for 25 to 45 minutes. Afterward, the researchers sampled the same locations for any persisting bacteria or spores.

“We were able to demonstrate that we could achieve well over 90 percent reduction in each of those three bad bugs after using the UV light,” Deverick Anderson, co-director of the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network, and study collaborator, said during a media briefing call earlier this week. Even shadowed surfaces that escaped direct UV exposure demonstrated this drastic reduction in bacteria. The findings were presented October 18 at IDWeek, a meeting to highlight progress in the fight against infectious diseases, in San Diego.

UV-C radiation has already been deployed by food processors and utilitiesto kill bugs in food and water, respectively—and it is also used to sterilize some medical equipment. Putting it to use for larger targets—such as hospital rooms—might become a new standard step in healthcare disinfection. The researchers did not, however, compare the light’s effectiveness with that of standard cleaning procedures. “We would never propose that the UV light be the only form of room cleaning,” Anderson said in a prepared statement. “But in an era of increasing antibiotic resistance, it could become an important addition to hospitals’ arsenal.”

Previous work had shown that UV-C can also cut down on MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) in hospital rooms. “We have a solid foundation to show that this approach succeeds in both experimental and real-world conditions,” Anderson said in a prepared statement. “Now it’s time to see if we can demonstrate that it indeed decreases the rate of infections among patients.” After all, it would be nice to be rid of our acquired infection risk in a flash.

UV News September 26, 2012: The National Water Research Institute Publishes Third Edition of UV Guidelines

The National Water Research Institute has published the third edition of the Ultraviolet Disinfection Guidelines for Drinking Water and Water Reuse.

The guidelines are designed to provide regulatory agencies and water and wastewater utilities with a common basis for evaluating and implementing ultraviolet (UV) disinfection of waterborne pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites like Cryptosporidium and Giardia.

The announcement was made by Jeff Mosher, Executive Director of NWRI, at the "IUVA 2012 Americas Conference" held by the International Ultraviolet Association (IUVA) in Washington, D.C.

"Because of its advantages demand for UV is growing, based in part on the use of recycled water to meet water supply needs," Mosher said. "The UV Guidelines are the most commonly used reference by regulators, water and wastewater agencies, design engineers, and equipment manufacturers to ensure the efficacy of UV installations."

The UV Guidelines were originally prepared in 2000 by a team of water industry experts that included university researchers, state and federal regulators, and consultants from the U.S. and abroad.

The revisions in the Third Edition of the UV Guidelines reflect experience gained from the application of the guidelines over the years.

The "Protocols" section of the guidelines was updated to provide a standardized protocol for conducting "spot-check" performance of MS-2 based viral bioassays to validate the installed performance of full-scale UV disinfection systems. Updates also standardize the assignment of UV dose when conducting MS-2 based viral assays by making use of a standard MS-2 dose-response relationship.

Key revisions include:

• All reclamation systems must undergo commissioning tests that demonstrate disinfection performance is consistent with design intent.
• Velocity profiles have been eliminated as an option for transferring pilot data to full-scale facility design.
• On-site MS-2 based viral assays are used for both the validation and commissioning test.
• A standard MS-2 dose-response curve is used to derive the reduction equivalent dose.
• The design equation is based on the lower 75-percent prediction interval for reclamation systems. The lower 90-percent prediction interval is used for drinking water systems.
• Commissioning tests will require seven out of eight on-site measurements exceeding the operational design equation.
• The addition of an appendix to illustrate the computations involved in the application and evaluation of UV disinfection systems.

The third edition of the UV Guidelines was revised by Robert W. Emerick, Ph.D., P.E., of Stantec Consulting Services, who was responsible for the first permitted unfiltered drinking water UV disinfection facility in the U.S. and continues to regularly design and troubleshoot reclamation-based UV disinfection systems, and George Tchobanoglous, Ph.D., P.E., NAE, Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Davis, who has authored or coauthored over 350 publications on water and wastewater treatment and solid waste management, including 13 textbooks and five engineering reference books.

The UV Guidelines are available to download at www.nwri-usa.org/uvguidelines.htm

UV News September 26, 2012: BlueLight UV disinfection systems from Heraeus Amba Australia
Australia's Manufacturing, Industrial and Mining Directory

Heraeus Amba Australia presents BlueLight UV disinfection systems, a range of operationally ready solutions for surface disinfection. Disinfection of packaging materials using BlueLight UV radiation is an economical solution, requiring very low capital and operating costs.

BlueLight UV disinfection systems consist of an air-cooled UV cassette including electricity supply. The UV cassette is equipped with UV amalgam lamps and emits an intensive cold UV radiation, which is especially suitable for the disinfection of heat-sensitive packaging materials.

Key features of BlueLight UV disinfection systems:

• Compact design allows easy retrofit in existing filling and closing machines
• Several UV cassettes can be installed in parallel if higher UV dosage is required
• Quartz window of the BlueLight UV module fitted with a patented breakage detector for increased safety on production lines
• Disinfection action certified by Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging

UV News August 3, 2012: Trane Offers First Commercial Air Handler with a Standard Photocatalytic Oxidation Air Cleaner

HVAC maker Trane, a brand of Ingersoll Rand, launched the industry's first photocatalytic oxidation air cleaning system as a standard option for cataloged air handling units.

The company's Catalytic Air Cleaning System (TCACS) is now a standard option with the Performance Climate Changer air handler, to deliver cleaner air and better indoor air quality while providing lower energy and maintenance costs and environmental impact compared with conventional air cleaning solutions.

The solution is designed to be ideal for healthcare facilities, offices, schools, airports, and other environments where indoor air quality is critical.

The TCACS blends three technologies: particle filtration, ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, and a photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) process. The system provides three steps of air cleaning:
* MERV 13 or higher particle filters provide the first stage of contaminant capture.
* Ultraviolet (UV) lights provide irradiation of the stationary surfaces such as coils and drain pans to reduce the likelihood of growth of germicidal contaminant.
* UV lights activate the catalyst on the media to enable the chemical reaction to reduce the carbon-based contaminants in the airstream.

The air handlers feature energy recovery, airflow monitoring, and humidity control options that improve the building environment and better control temperature and humidity.

UV News May 4, 2012: SETi breaks barriers with UV-C LED efficiencies of over 10%

Bringing consumer disinfection markets within reach, SETi has developed a completely new p-type region using doped transparent aluminium gallium nitride. This, together with a transparent p-contact, significantly increases extraction efficiencies

Sensor Electronic Technology, Inc (SETi) has achieved, what it says, are record efficiencies of ultraviolet light (UV) LEDs operating in the germicidal UV-C range.

LED UV Disinfection
UV Germicidal LED lamps with the power to disinfect
water, surfaces and air


Literature says that the UV-C range peaks at around 254nm although the latest LEDs developed by SETi have been designed to emit at 278nm.

The firm's latest devices have an external quantum efficiency of 11% with a corresponding wall-plug efficiency of 8%.

SETi says this is an "industry beating result". It was achieved under the DARPA Compact Mid-Ultraviolet Technology (CMUVT) program and performed in collaboration with Army Research Laboratories (ARL).

This latest development represents more than a five times improvement in performance.

Traditionally, UV LEDs have been manufactured with GaN p-layers, due to the difficulties of p-doping AlGaN materials. However, GaN absorbs wavelengths shorter than 365nm, reducing the extraction efficiency of UV LEDs operating at short wavelengths.

SETi has now developed a completely new p-type region using doped AlGaN, which is transparent, even in the UVC range. This coupled with a transparent p-contact significantly increases extraction efficiencies.

The firm has also enhanced its proprietary MEMOCVD growth process to reduce dislocation densities in the quantum well structure of UV LEDs grown on sapphire substrates. The company has demonstrated threading dislocation densities of less than 2 x 108, as measured by TEM. This improvement leads to a high internal quantum efficiency of 60%.

“This milestone is a very exciting development of UV LEDs, and represents a major step forward in reaching efficiencies of incumbent technologies, such as medium pressure mercury vapour lamps, which typically operate at efficiencies of 15% or less,” notes Remis Gaska, President and CEO of SETi.

The 350µm x 350µm encapsulated LEDs were designed for emission at 278nm and measured independently at ARL. SETi says the emission of 9.8mW at 20mA is the highest value ever reported for an LED shorter than 365nm at this forward current, and 30mW at 100mA. Details of the research will be presented at CLEO 2012 meeting, San Jose, California.

SETi has previously reported LED based water treatment systems that disinfect with over 4 log reduction drinking water flowing at 0.5 litres per minute with less than 35mW of optical power at 275nm.

The results from this development put UV LED disinfection systems within the reach of consumer markets for applications such as point of use water purification.

UV News February 24, 2012: BYU and UVU Students Use UV Power to Blast Away Bacteria
The Universe

One in six cell phones have fecal bacteria growing on them.

In an effort to combat the filth growing on cell phones, BYU and UVU students have teamed up to develop a device that would clean cell phones.

The device is called PhoneSoap, and works by emitting UV rays that kill harmful bacteria that accumulates on cell phones.

While watching TV and hearing a report that cell phones have 18 times more harmful bacteria than a public bathroom, Jordan Monroe, a junior from Idaho studying entrepreneurship, was inspired to come up with a device that would eliminate this threat.

“I’m a bit of a germaphobe, and so I started to wonder how I could fix this,” Monroe said. “I originally wanted to develop a wipe, but people didn’t want their phones to get wet.”

The idea seems practical as students do not clean their phones very often.

“I never really clean my phone because if I do, I figure I will damage it,” said Leonard Yang, from Toronto, Canada.

The idea came as Monroe learned that UV light was often used at BYU to sterilize lab equipment.

“We looked into whether or not UV rays would ruin phones and discovered that they wouldn’t,” Monroe said. “Also, because we wanted to make the device something people would use every day, we added a phone charging feature so people would get into the habit of using it.”

The uniqueness of the idea also convinced others to get on board.

“When I heard about PhoneSoap, I got really excited. I definitely thought this could be something big and called Jordan wondering if I could get involved,” said Gabriel Villamizar, a senior from Venezuela studying marketing.

Intel chose Monroe, Villamizar and the rest of the PhoneSoap for a national competition which is giving away $100,000. In order to qualify for the finals, PhoneSoap needs to place fifth or better in the online voting process taking place of Facebook.

Voting ends Feb. 20, and Monroe encourages students wanting to support PhoneSoap to log onto Facebook and search for Intel Innovators. Once on the page, students will need to search for the Pitchroom and find the video for PhoneSoap. They can then click the application and invest up to 10,500 social capital points.

The product is due for sale in the BYU bookstore this September with retail prices estimated between $39 and $49.

UV News February 22, 2012: Tech Upgrades Improve Water Quality at Wastewater Plant
Government Technology

A number of new technology additions are helping the Rocky River Wastewater Treatment Plant in Anderson, S.C., discharge cleaner and clearer water back into the environment.

Last fall, the facility replaced its old chlorine water disinfection process with an ultraviolet (UV) light system. In addition, in order to meet environmental regulations, the plant also began removing phosphorus from the water by using sand filters and expanded its daily treatment capacity by 3.4 million gallons per day.

Jeff Caldwell, utilities director for Anderson, said the uptick in water quality is obvious to anyone watching the water come off the plant’s cascade into the receiving stream.

“You can tell a physical difference,” Caldwell said. “It’s a much cleaner and clearer quality of water, but as far as the nutrients that are dissolved in that water, other than the phosphorus, that hasn’t changed.”

Wastewater comes in the Rocky River plant and is sent to a primary clarifier where heavy solids are sifted out. Then it heads to a trickling filter to remove further pollutants using microorganisms, then over to rotating biological contactors, which remove dissolved and suspended biological matter. After that, the water is sent through a final clarifier before it’s released.

To remove the phosphorus, however, the facility added another step prior to the final clarifier, where a chemical mixture called Alum is introduced that binds the lighter particles together, so they get heavier and settle out. The water then heads to a sand filter, which gets rid of the finer particles that weren’t removed.

The project cost approximately $30 million and took two years to complete. The work took place while the plant was in operation, so it was done in a phased approach that resulted in a setup of equipment being brought online before older components were taken down.

But in a time of budget shortfalls, why make the move to a UV system, particularly if chlorine is cheaper to use and has been used successfully at the plant for years?

Caldwell explained that since the equipment at Rocky River was due for an upgrade to its chlorine equipment anyway, the city compared chemical costs against power use and once transportation and storage for chlorine factored in, the choice became a no-brainer.

“Throw in the risk component of having several one-ton chlorine cylinders onsite and having to truck them through our city streets … eliminating that risk to our employees and citizens is what put it over the top and made it a more effective solution for us,” he said.

Additional Benefits

In addition to environmental and safety benefits, the new process also makes things a little easier on workers. Using chlorine, workers took a sample of water and from that, determined what dosage level of the chemical was needed to disinfect the water.

UV is a little different. The amount of UV that goes into the water depends on the flow. As the water passes through the channel where the UV lights are located, it’ll sense whether the water is degraded at all and automatically turn on more lights to disinfect based on the need. So while workers still need to remain attentive, the system is more reactive to the flow and the water coming to it than the chlorine process was.

The added bonus is now employees won’t have huge chlorine cylinders to deal with or a concern over potential leaks and the health impacts that could result. While UV rays are dangerous, Caldwell said the risk of UV exposure is minor, as long as the bulbs are kept at an appropriate depth underwater.

He added that the improvements made to separate phosphorus will also allow the plant to limit the amount of nitrogen that can be in the water, should regulators impose any future mandates.

UV News January 16, 2012: Fort Payne water goes ultraviolet

Water purification is looked at in a different light in Fort Payne.

The Fort Payne Water Department recently completed a $6.5 million upgrade and rehabilitation to its water treatment facility and became the first municipality in the state to install an ultraviolet disinfection process.

"We're absolutely excited about this," said Paul Nail, general manager. "We spent $6.5 million to make sure the citizens of Fort Payne are protected. We feel like we have the best and safest water in the state."

In 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency set new water quality standards, which went into effect Jan. 1. The new regulations required Fort Payne Water Department to consider alternatives to its water treatment methods.

"When we got the 2012 regulations for treating surface water, we started looking at ways to meet those mandates," Nail said. "We researched it for several years and settled on three things."

Nail said department workers replaced its outdated settling basins. The basins were built in 1969 and weren't functioning at peak capacity because of age. Nail said clarifiers were added to replace the settling basins and a building was built around them to protect the clarifiers from the elements.

As surface water comes into the water treatment facility, it passes through the clarifiers first. Nail said the clarifiers basically condition the water for further treatment.

After leaving the clarifiers, water then moves through the facility's new granular activated carbon filters. Nail said the GAC helps with the taste and odor of the water by removing contaminants and chemicals from the water.

The GAC filters also prevent changes in water quality from seasonal turnover of surface water. When the weather begins to turn cold, the water on the surface of rivers and lakes becomes cooler and sinks to the bottom. The warmer water on the bottom then rises to the surface. When the water begins to cycle, it stirs up sediment on the bottom which can cause changes in odor and taste in treated water.

After passing through the GAC filters, the water moves through a new ultraviolet light treatment process. UV disinfection is still fairly uncommon in the U.S., but is widely used in Europe. Fort Payne is the first municipality in the state to install a UV treatment process.

Ultraviolet light is highly effective at eliminating risk from protozoa and bacteria that are too small to be eliminated by filtering water.

"The UV takes care of biologics like cryptosporidium," Nail said. "There was a cryptosporidium outbreak [in 1993] in Milwaukee, Wis., that ended up killing a lot of people. We want to protect the people of Fort Payne from things like that."

Nail said the technology incorporated at Fort Payne's water treatment facility is top notch and should meet any future mandates from the EPA. He also said the capacity of the facility is more than adequate to meet the future demands of the city. Currently the facility processes about 3.4 million gallons of water a day, but is capable of treating up to 9 million gallons per day.

UV News January 11, 2012: Asahi Kasei acquires UVC LEDs Maker Crystal IS

On 28 December 2011, Japan-based diversified industrial enterprise Asahi Kasei Group acquired Crystal IS Inc of Green Island, NY, USA, which develops single-crystal aluminum nitride (AlN) substrates and ultraviolet light-emitting diodes (UVC LEDs) based on them.

The Asahi Kasei Group is currently advancing ‘For Tomorrow’ projects in the fields of the environment & energy, residential living, and health care, for the creation of new businesses under its ‘For Tomorrow 2015’ mid-term management initiative. A key focus of the Environment & Energy for Tomorrow project is the development of technology to create new business with compound semiconductor devices that complement Asahi Kasei’s established gallium arsenide (GaAs)-based Hall-effect devices, infrared sensors, and magnetic resistance devices.

Since being spun off from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, NY, USA in 1997, Crystal IS has been working in development mode for more than ten years, with a history of early support from RPI as well as continued support from both regional and US government. Venture funding in 2004 and 2006 from ARCH Venture Partners, Lux Capital, the Credit Suisse/New York State Common Retirement Fund and Harris & Harris Group, helped the firm to scale up development.

As one element of its Environment and Energy for Tomorrow project, in July 2010 Asahi Kasei purchased shares in Crystal IS, and the two firms began the joint development of process technology for manufacturing AlN substrates. Recent collaborative and strategic support from Asahi Kasei Group as well as China’s San’an Optoelectronics Company Ltd propelled it to its current level of operation. Crystal IS currently has 25 staff.

Crystal IS had been exploring its options for commercializing the AlN-based UV LEDs that it had developed, which feature exceptionally short wavelength as well as what’s claimed to be world-leading efficiency and service life. As well as having high thermal conductivity and excellent tolerance to high voltage, AlN absorbs and emits short-wavelength UV light, which has an bactericidal effect. UV LEDs featuring smaller size, lighter weight, longer service life and energy conservation can therefore facilitate the development of portable disinfection equipment and other new applications. However, difficulty in growing AlN in pure crystal form has hindered high-volume commercial production.

Crystal IS’ technology was judged to be a good fit with Asahi Kasei’s thin-film device technology, which can provide a base for the further expansion of compound semiconductor operations, while both firms share a common vision for the development of the UV LED sector. Asahi Kasei adds that the acquisition enables combination of the technologies of Asahi Kasei and Crystal IS, as well as marking its entry into the UV LED market and providing a foundation for further developments in energy-conserving devices.

Asahi Kasei reckons that having Crystal IS as a subsidiary will enable not only the early commercialization of technology to grow single-crystal AlN substrates but also, through a combination of the two firms’ technologies, the early commercialization of UV LED devices which are expected to meet growing demand. “The advances in solid-state UVC technology accomplished by Crystal IS will allow for clean and safe disinfection to be introduced into water, air and surface applications in multiple markets,” says Masafumi Nakao, general manager of Asahi Kasei’s Advanced Devices and Sensor Systems Development Center. In addition, further developments will be explored for the application of AlN technology to other energy-conserving devices.

Crystal IS reckons that, while continuing to be based in New York State, as a subsidiary of Asahi Kasei it will be able to accelerate commercialization of its UVC LEDs, leveraging Asahi Kasei’s strength’s in product engineering and manufacturing excellence. The company will organize around its respective strengths, with R&D fundamentals and entrepreneurial business development managed from Crystal IS, and product engineering and manufacturing excellence being led by Asahi Kasei.

“Our record LED performance in development has brought interest from global customers and we are eager to create a high-quality product to meet their needs,” says Crystal IS’ CEO & president Dr Steven Berger. “We recognize Asahi Kasei Group’s strength as a successful developer and manufacturer of compound semiconductor devices and are confident that their support will ensure a timely and quality launch of our UVC LED business in the global marketplace,” he adds.

“I am pleased that this ground-breaking technology platform is moving forward into the next phase of growth,” comments Crystal IS’ co-founder & chief technology officer Leo Schowalter. “We are pleased to be part of a growing high-tech area focused on advanced materials, life science, cleantech and energy,” he adds. “We will continue our tradition of innovation and excellence, while also accelerating global business growth with our new owner.”

UV News January 4, 2012: Berson supplies UV disinfection technology to Ukraine
Filtration + Separation

UV specialist Berson has supplied two of its InLine+ UV disinfection systems to a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in the city of Chernihiv to the north-east of Kiev.

The Berson UV systems will disinfect effluent prior to its discharge into the Desna River.
“Disinfection is necessary to meet Ukrainian bathing water standards and also to prevent effluent with high microbial loads of pathogenic viruses, parasites and bacteria entering the Desna River, which is also the main water supply for many communities downstream, including Kiev,” said Chernihiv’s waterworks director, Sergey Shkin.

“Chemical disinfection with chlorine was not an option as we wanted to avoid unpleasant disinfection by-products such as trihalomethanes (THMs) and halogenated acetic acids (HAAs), which are produced when chlorine reacts with the organic compounds in wastewater,” he said.

UV disinfection is completely chemical-free, and produces no unpleasant by-products.

The Chernihiv waterworks selected two Berson InLine 16000 systems, operating in parallel mode. Each UV chamber is equipped with 12 automatically-wiped medium pressure Multiwave UV lamps and can treat effluent at a flow rate of 2000 m3/h (4000 m3/h in total). Because of the InLine design of the closed treatment chambers, they have low headloss and are also compact with a small overall footprint.

UV News November 2, 2011: SETi prepares high-volume manufacturing of UV LEDs

Sensor Electronic Technology Inc (SETi) of Columbia, SC, USA has put in motion an expansion plan to both expand its R&D efforts and to transition its production line to high-volume manufacturing, making it what it claims is the first high-volume supplier of ultraviolet (UV) LEDs shorter than 365nm, initially scaling to supply quantities of more than 100 million LEDs per year.

SETi says it was first to market with short-wavelength UV LEDs in 2004 and has since supplier a portfolio of LEDs and high-power LED lamps from 240nm to 355nm.

SETi currently operates a 15,000ft2 ISO9001-certified facility, where it runs a vertically integrated R&D and small-volume production line with epitaxial growth, chip fab, packaging and test and analysis, plus a prototyping line for integration of its LEDs into complete systems.

The first phase of the expansion, which is currently underway, involves retrofitting this facility to 20,000ft2 and converting it into the firm’s R&D center. The expansion in this facility will be focused predominantly around additional cleanroom space for chip fab and device packaging, where new mask designs, processing techniques and packaging solutions will be developed to further improve the performance of SETi’s UVTOP and UVClean devices and to ensure that SETi maintains its position in the UV LED market.

SETi recently closed on the purchase of a new property, where it will focus its high-volume manufacturing lines. The firm’s growth plans include expansion of this new facility to 130,000ft2. Initially, it will house SETi’s proprietary production metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) reactors, where the company will focus on the high-volume manufacturing of its migration-enhanced MOCVD (MEMOCVD) process that will be used for the scale up in volume of its UV LEDs and a new Engineering Center for the development of new applications and the production of custom solutions.

UV News November 2, 2011: Xylem's WEDECO Spektron UV Systems launched With Widest Validation For Drinking Water Norms, Meeting Needs Of Small And Mid-Sized Drinking Water Plants

Xylem Inc., the global water solutions business that this week spun off from ITT Corporation, has announced advanced features to its WEDECO Spektron ultraviolet (UV) light disinfection product range. The upgrades to the closed vessel UV reactors are aimed at the municipal drinking water market for flows of a few cubic meters per hour (m³/h) to more than 1,000 m³/h.

All Spektron units will be rolled out as they earn DVGW/ ÖNORM certification, and CE and UL registration. In addition, a range of units will also be validated under full compliance to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Ultraviolet Disinfection Guidance Manual (UVDGM 2006). The entire series is expected to be fully validated by mid-2012.

"The Spektron series is designed to meet all common disinfection requirements including 3-log Cryptosporidum reduction," said Mike Newberry, product manager for Xylem's WEDECO UV systems. "And since it will be evaluated to all norms, it will fit any legal requirements for drinking water."

The new Spektron units will be equipped with WEDECO's latest ECORAY UV lamp and ballast technology. In combination with the option of variable power output control, they feature excellent energy efficiency under all operating conditions. While in dim mode, the ECORAY lamps realize energy savings of up to 20 per cent of the energy and use up to 80 per cent less mercury than the previous lamp generation. With respect to sustainability, the UV lamp's power savings translate to a carbon dioxide reduction of up to 500 kg per lamp over the lamp's life cycle.

In addition, now all of the Spektron units can be ordered with an automatic wiping system and will have improved hydraulics conditions inside the reactor. Whilst the smaller units will continue to be equipped with WEDECO's CrossMix module, the larger units will have the newly developed OptiCone installed. This patent pending flow diverter ensures optimal hydraulic conditions inside the reactor under all inlet piping configurations. The excellent performance of the units will be continuously monitored by an ÖNORM compliant UV sensor that fulfils reference sensor requirements.


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