Micro-bubbles ‘could boost productivity’

Teesside University is looking for commercial partners to help demonstrate the potential of a groundbreaking micro-bubble aeration technology.

The process was developed jointly at Teesside University and the University of Malaya by Dr Faik Hamad, Associate Professor in Engineering and Dr Poo Balan Ganesan, Associate Professor in Engineering.

The technology uses a generator to produce microscopic bubbles which release free radicals and boost dissolved oxygen levels in water, helping to cleanse water of waste products and harmful micro-organisms, and increase productivity for farmed finfish and shellfish.

Micro-bubble technologies offer a safer, chemical-free, and low-energy alternative to existing water disinfection methods. Developing countries will be able to access this revolutionary technology, the researchers said; barriers to adoption are low and operating costs are expected to be lower than existing solutions.

The micro-bubble aeration technology uses naturally sucked air, reducing energy and maintenance costs required for the generation of compressed air. The small bubbles produced by the generator release free radicals (OH- ions) which have an oxidation reduction potential (ORP) equal to 1.66V. The small bubbles also increase the dissolved oxygen in water which improve the productivity of seafood.

Teesside University is using konfer – a free-to-use innovation brokerage platform operated by the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) –  to find commercial partners to help show proof of concept.

Dr Faik Hamad, Associate Professor in Engineering at Teesside University, said: “This project is incredibly significant, as it intends to reduce the environmental and health-related impacts of wastewater, with game-changing implications for the aquaculture sector. Water is essential to everything from agriculture to industrial processes; as the issue of pathogenic micro-organisms becomes more prevalent, micro-bubble aeration technology has the potential to tackle this issue in a way that is sustainable and safe. We are delighted to be working with konfer, who have provided us with simplified access to a network of thousands of businesses.”

Dr Poo Balan Ganesan, Associate Professor in Engineering at the University of Malaya said: “At the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, micro-bubble aeration has been tested for aquaculture species such as marine white shrimp and giant freshwater prawn. The investigations show significant improvements on the growth of the species (by 30%) and a reduction of food conversion ratio.”