Do you also know that feeling, that deep breath that your lungs take in when you go outdoors after a thunderstorm? That fresh, sweet, clean, smell of air is the result when nature uses ozone as a cleaner and purifier. The electrical discharge that takes place during lightning transforms the oxygen contained in air to ozone. The ozone proceeds to destroy odour causing substances in the air, the rain washes and rinses the remaining particles away and we can, at least for a brief moment in time, enjoy this fresh scent of a clean atmosphere that is caused by trace amounts of residual ozone.
Why does this fresh smell disappear so quickly after the thunderstorm is over? There are several reasons for this, including the ever-present emissions of new pollutants from an endless and very diverse number of sources that are present in an industrial environment. But also because ozone is a highly reactive and unstable substance. If nothing is present with which the ozone can react and destroy, it begins to degrade back to normal atmospheric oxygen, that is, back to what it was originally. This is one of the big advantages when using ozone as a cleaner: it accomplishes its task without leaving behind toxic or unwanted byproducts.
Ozone is a form of oxygen (chemical formula O). Oxygen is present in our atmosphere in the form of a diatom, giving it the chemical formula O2. An ozone molecule consists of three oxygen atoms and therefore has the chemical formula O3.
The conversion of oxygen in our atmosphere to ozone can therefore be represented in the following manner:
3 O2 --> 2 O3
In comparison to the bonds in the diatom (O2) the bonds in ozone are weak. This leads to the fact that ozone is inherently unstable. Nature will always attempt to go from an unstable state to one that is more stable. For this reason ozone reacts immediately with any molecules that it comes in contact with. What happens when ozone reacts is made clear using the following example:
C6H6 + 11 O3 --> 6 CO2 + 3 H2O + 11 O2
In words: A benzene molecule reacts with 11 ozone molecules and forms 6 carbon dioxide molecules, 3 water molecules and 11 oxygen molecules. The odour causing substance, in this case benzene, is broken down completely - into three substances that are essential for our environment and life.
Since ozone is unstable by nature, it reacts quickly with substances that are present and that it comes in contact with.
However, if no substances remain with which the ozone can react, it begins to decompose to atmospheric oxygen. This can be represented in the following manner:
2 O3 --> 3 O2
This decomposition process proceeds at a rate in which the amount of ozone present initially is reduced by one half within a period of about six minutes. This means that within a time frame of 90 minutes with an initial concentration of 1000 ppm less than 0.1 ppm are left! Condition for this is that no further ozone is being generated.
The fact that ozone decomposes by itself makes its application easy and safe.
Easy because there are no residues left to remove. Safe because one can apply ozone at a high level and safely enter the area that was treated not even 2 hours after treatment has been stopped.
Now that you have received a little background information about ozone you may ask yourself: what can ozone be used for?
Ozone is a very strong oxidation agent. This is illustrated by the fact that it is 1.5 times stronger than chlorine, an oxidation agent all of you are familiar with. It is exactly this property, coupled with the characteristics discussed above, that make ozone such a valuable tool in commercial applications.
Ozone generators that are designed for commercial use, specifically odour neutralization, have been on the market for over 40 years. Some examples for the areas where ozone may be used: fire damage, water damage, automobiles, hotels, sanitary installations, garbage storage, in-plant rug cleaning and many more.
For commercial use the ozone generators are electrically powered. Under high voltage electricity an artificial lightning is produced in a glass tube. The air that passes through the glass tube is partially converted to ozone.
We have been distributing Sonozaire® ozone generators which are suited for the applications just mentioned for the past 25 years.
When deciding which size ozone generator is best suited it is important to consider which type of odours are to be neutralized and how large the rooms are where these odours are to be neutralized.
Sonozaire Ozone Generators - some data
The table above summarizes the most important data for the three ozone generators that we offer. A look at the table and one notices the difference in room size a certain model can handle when comparing normal odour neutralization to fire and smoke odour neutralization. This difference is up to one order of magnitude. It is therefore important to consider what type of odour neutralization will be the main focus and the typical room sizes one might encounter before deciding on which model to buy.
Based on our experience one can say that for normal odour problems (excluding fire damage) a typical treatment time of 8 hours is sufficient. If the odour problem persists after this treatment a second treatment may be necessary.
For the odour neutralization of smaller objects like rugs, upholstery and clothing, for example, the construction of a ozone chamber is a practical solution. An example of what an ozone chamber may look like is shown below.
Example of an Ozone Chamber
It is important to remember that the generator size corresponds to the volume of the ozone chamber, that additional air circulation is present, and that the ozone generator can be controlled from outside the chamber.
Should this short introduction has aroused your interest call us - we will be glad to assist you in finding out whether or not ozone is a business opportunity for you.