Column Joek van der Zeeuw
Disinfecting water is “hot.” Not only hot figuratively, due to the need or desire to make drain water from greenhouses suitable for reuse; but also literally, due to the growing demand for Ecoster disinfectors. They heat the water and are very effective, even against viruses. Thanks to the built-in heat exchangers, the water can also be cooled easily.
In recent decades, horticultural companies have made major investments in disinfection installations to enable responsible drain water reuse. Good irrigation water is a scarce commodity in many areas, so reuse pays off. All the more so, since drain water still contains valuable nutrients. Other factors also play a role, such as the purification of waste streams (including the breaking down of crop protection products still present in them) before discharging them into surface water or the sewer, which is required in the Netherlands.
Heating is a simple and sure method of rendering microorganisms and viruses in water harmless. Traditionally, this is done by heating the water to 95°C for 30 seconds. A longer treatment duration at a slightly lower temperature, such as 85°C for three minutes, also works. The advantage of this is that it reduces (limescale) deposits in the installation, which saves maintenance costs.
Lately, effective water disinfection has been receiving a lot of attention again. This has everything to do with the increased threat of viruses that can spread through irrigation water, such as cucumber green mottle mosaic virus (CGMMV) and ToBRFV. For this reason, many entrepreneurs want to disinfect other types of water (such as water from a tank/reservoir) in addition to the drain water before they enter the greenhouse. This often requires a substantial expansion of the disinfection capacity.
The Ecoster disinfector product range has been developing steadily over the past 25 years and has grown with the market. In addition to the GAS Ecoster and the CV Ecoster, there are now also fully electric versions available under the name EL Ecoster. A gas connection is therefore no longer a requirement. The broad range of types and sizes (capacity) undoubtedly contributes to the growing demand for our disinfectors. There was and is no doubt about the effectiveness and operational reliability of our Ecoster heaters, in particular when it comes to viruses. Scaling up in order to disinfect more water is not a problem for the heating design either. Add to that the low-maintenance nature of the machine and the modest annual costs, and it is clear why this disinfection concept has been used for more than 25 years.