Algae Control Through Ultrasound Technology

maxresdefault (Photo by: LG Sonic)

When temperatures climb and the summer sun beats down, Lakes and another water body are producing harmful algae blooms, some of which can be harmful to pets and humans. Therefore, the growth of algae should be controlled. One of the solution to control the algae is by using ultrasonic wave which developed by LG Sonic. LG Sonic's ultrasound technology only targets algae growth, leaving other aquatic life unharmed and preventing algal toxins from being released. The system can prevent algal blooms by using real-time water quality monitoring, allowing for business as usual while saving time and money

How it Works?

The ultrasonic algae control devices emit low-power ultrasound waves in the top water layer, generating a constant pressure cycle around the algal cells. This interferes with the algae's buoyancy regulation, preventing them from accessing sunlight and nutrients. As a result, they can't perform photosynthesis and sink to the bottom, where they decompose naturally without releasing harmful toxins. No aquatic organisms, animals, or humans are harmed in the process.

Ultrasound refers to sound waves with frequencies higher than the upper audible limit of human hearing (20 kHz). At specific frequencies, these sound waves can be used to control algae growth. There is a distinction between high-power ultrasound that causes cavitation and the low-power ultrasound used by LG Sonic. Cavitation is caused by the formation of micro-bubbles that collapse, generating intense heat.

The Case Study

Phil Gold Processing & Refining Corp. (PGPRC) was plagued by significant algae growth clogging filters in their water treatment plant and needed a solution. The gold mining corporation, based in the Philippines, faced high OPEX costs at their joint operation, the Masbate Gold Project (MGP), because the filters needed to be cleaned on a daily basis to deal with the algae.

The Masbate Gold Project is a collaboration between PGPRC and Filminera Resources Corporation (FRC). PGPRC provides raw water treatment and tailing dams at the mining site, whereas FRC owns the mining rights to the project and the Environmental Compliance Certificate (EEC).

As costs continued to rise and time passed, PGPRC was in desperate need of a solution at their Masbate mining site. PGPRC installed six MPC-buoy systems at the site in February 2021 to reduce maintenance activities and lower the tailing dam's operational costs, which were in the millions at the time. Six months after installing the ultrasonic algae treatment, chlorophyll-a levels remained stable at 1.2 mg/L. This was a significant decrease from the baseline of 200mg/L recorded when PGPRC began using the treatment in February 2021. As a result of the algal management, water quality improved both before and after discharge treatment, and filter cleaning maintenance was reduced.

Mining & Water

Tailing dams are needed in gold mining operations to collect the byproducts produced during the process. Some of this water is pumped back into the mine during mining, and the rest is treated before being discharged into Port Barrera. Because of the metallic content in the water, tailing dams frequently have high pH levels and salinity. As a result, they pose a risk to the environment. Algal growth in the tailing dam clogged the water treatment plant's sand filters, making water reuse and treatment expensive. With the need to ensure that mining operations continued uninterrupted, daily maintenance operations were required to control algal growth.

Benefit of Ultrasonic Algae Treatment

1. Safe for the People & Environment

2. Effective for large water surfaces

3. Designed for long-term efficiency 

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