Ultrasonic Disintegration

Thanks to the high-power ultrasound technology by ULTRAWAVES, it is possible to effect the disintegration of the biomass as a result of cavitation, the forces of which are capable of destroying every robust surface.

High-intensity ultrasound is necessary to tear apart water molecules during the rarefaction phase, which results in the formation of micro-scopically small voids in the liquid. These voids become bubbles filled with water vapour or gas. They grow in extension phases and shrink in compression phases, until they implode. This event is called cavitation, a process under extreme (adiabatic) conditions. On a micro scale, pressures of 500 bar and a temperature of 5,000°C are produced. Particularly large cavitation bubbles are produced within the frequency range from 20 to 100 kHz; when these bubbles collapse they cause extreme mechanical shear forces. These forces produced by ultrasound are capable of destroying even the most robust surfaces.

Cavitation

Effect on bacteria, algae and agricultural biomass

High-intensity ultrasound causes biomass to break down. Our newly developed ultrasound systems first decompose agglomerations of biomass material at rather low energy input (short sonication time). Further sonication opens up the biomass cells, so that the cell contents escape and dissolve. This process releases enzymes from the bacterial biomass. Hence the sonicated biomass is readily available as a substrate for active microorganisms and is degraded better in a subsequent biological degradation process.

Disintegration of biomass in wastewater treatment plants

Disintegration of biomass in biogas plants

Biological degradation processes are intensified, i.e., the use of ultrasound produces a greater yield of the end product and less residual materials. As a consequence of this, for example, in anaerobic sludge treatment, biogas production is increased and there is less residual sludge.

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