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INTERNET OF THINGS GUIDES BACTERIAL CLEANSING

02-08-2016
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South Australian company Factor UTB has discovered how to utilize the Internet of Things to corral an “army” of bacteria for water purification.

This technology is set to alter the treatment environment for winery, industrial and municipal wastewater, potentially making the process far more efficient. .

CEO of Factor UTB, Rex Gibbs, said the monitoring technology allowed the company to target and strengthen the bacteria that cleaned the water in holding tanks.

He said native bacteria that attacked organic pollutants and excess nutrients in wastewater were harvested from sewage pipes, winery drains and waste streams.

“Then we train them up like Olympic hopefuls so they do what we want,” Gibbs said.

“We are achieving nutrient results that are far better than almost anything else that is being produced. We are also able to achieve this at less than a dollar of chemicals per kilolitre treated.”

Factor UTB uses 3G networks to access water tank controls to manipulate the environment. It is also able to control the pumps remotely across large distances.

Tanks are fitted with sensors to detect pipe leaks, which can send an immediate notification to company personnel.

The tanks are also fitted with probes and sensors to detect changes in alkalinity or oxygen levels and automatically adjust settings to optimize water treatment.

The system is able to remove pollutants from millions of liters of water a day.

Every liter of wine produced requires about five liters of water for cleaning.

Gibbs said wastewater from a winery producing about 12.5 million liters of wine contained about the same amount of biochemical load as sewage from a town with a population of roughly 20,000 people.

“We turn filthy water into dirty water. The water that comes out of wineries is filthy and has extremely high pollutant loads. What we do is turn that into dirty water,” Gibbs said.

“You can use the dirty water to water under wood lots, you can certainly use it to water compost heaps and other things like that to make compost better.

“The water is best used to irrigate something other than grapes. It's good crop hygiene to use the treated water to irrigate something other than what was originally produced by using that water.

“The biggest tank we built for a winery is in Marlborough (New Zealand) and is about 1800sq m. If an Adelaide home churns through 500 litres a day, the one in New Zealand can churn about a 22,000 house equivalent.”

Regarding future expansion abroad, Gibbs said Factor UTB was in talks with wineries in South Africa.

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