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R&D 100 Awards

Portable UVC LED Water Sterilizer System

Video of Portable UVC LED Water Sterilizer System.

In areas where access to clean water is restricted, technology serves a promising role to present innovative solutions. ITRI’s Portable UVC LED Water Sterilizer System is such a solution developed to efficiently produce clean water by killing bacteria in water with UVC LED technology. As opposed to conventional mercury lamp disinfection systems, ITRI’s water sterilizer system is mercury-free, energy-saving, compact, and durable. Moreover, it can operate with solar power and a backup battery, making it the world’s first solar powered flow-water sterilizer that can serve emergency purposes.

The sterilizer module.

The sterilizer module.

Flowing water purifying systems currently rely on mercury lamps which contain mercury, overheat easily, and have short lifespans. Moreover, in response to a global initiative towards environmental protection, the “Minamata Convention on Mercury” is phasing out the production and import/export of mercury-containing products by the year 2020. These are the reasons why ITRI developed the water sterilizer using UVC LED technology. Compared to mercury lamps, UVC LEDs have advantages such as low power consumption, a smaller carbon footprint, and instant on/off switch without warm-up.

The Portable UVC LED Water Sterilizer System uses 60 mW UV power to purify contaminated water. It is able to kill up to 99.9% of bacteria at a flow rate of 2 LPM. This system can be instantly activated whenever there is a water flow, which saves electricity. To let users know the UV intensity during disinfection and when to change the LEDs, the system has real-time self-monitoring function. An LED display is incorporated to indicate the flow rate, disinfection status, UVC LED intensity, and battery status via a graphical user interface. Data are saved in the memory device for future review and analysis, and the system can connect with the IoT network for smart management and tracking.

Operation Scheme of the Portable UVC LED Water Sterilizer System.

Operation Scheme of the Portable UVC LED Water Sterilizer System.

ITRI’s water sterilizer system consists of UVC LEDs and a disinfection reaction chamber enabled with a solar powered battery and smart sensors. The figure above depicts the operation procedure of the system. A mini-pump powered by the solar panel delivers the contaminated water to the portable flow-water sterilizer. The smart sensor immediately turns the UVC LED on whenever it detects water flow inside the UVC sterilization cavity module. The sterilization process begins and the originally contaminated water is then purified. Once sterilized, the water can be delivered immediately for drinking, wound cleaning, or food processing purposes.

The portable sterilizer is particularly suitable for places lacking electricity, where it can provide needed supply of clean water in an eco-friendly manner. It features a simple installation and can be incorporated with a solar panel charger, and its backup battery is capable of delivering 300- 600 L of sterilized water during night time. Compact and light, the sterilizer can be easily distributed to disaster-affected areas to make rescues much more efficient and reduce the risks of water-borne diseases such as diarrhea, malaria, and dengue fever.