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Interview Details

Interview with Miguel Amorós

  • , Pascual y Bernabeu
  • Dated: Friday, December 5th 2014
  • Why has Pascual y Bernabeu been selected to trial the prototype for microbiological control in their operations?

    P&B was selected to trial the pilot for two main reasons:

    First, P&B has a very extensive cooling tower system as well as extensive experience in controlling  this risk equipment due to a number of outbreaks in the area over the past few years.

    • Additionally, the company has participated in many projects including:
    • - Incorporation of microencapsulation technology into the textile sector.
    • - Investigation of the influence of the flame retardant finishing in the pigments of metallic complexes. - Qualitative studies in showing the ozone affects of dyestuffs and pigments. Although studies show that atmospheric concentration is growing, there are currently, no quantitative studies which establish the consequence of fabrics exposure to this gas.
    • - Research on a new dyeing process for special fabrics.
    • - Study and research on nanotechnology applied to textile finishings.
    • - Modification of bio fibers through enzymatic finishings.
    • - Compatibility study for developing a nanofinishing with multi-properties, principally for worker clothing.
    • - International projects including: EUREKA E! 3570 OZO3TEX, EUREKA E!3776 NANOTEX and TEXLEGIO (LIFE07/ENV/E/000794) which focused on similar environmental problems but with a focus in Legionella bacterium.

    One of the main benefits of the new technology is that it allows for real-time detection of harmful microorganisms in the hydraulic circuits on-site. How has this worked in practice? Have there been any complications?

    Careful maintenance and control of cooling towers is essential in order to prevent microbial contamination. Currently, these systems are disinfected by maintaining a residual amount of biocide. In order to do so, it is necessary to have a calibrated biocide controller which works with two closer set points. This operation process can be complicated, because the biocide controller requires a high level of accuracy. Consequently, water in the circuits is usually out of these set points.

    For example, in the event that water has a high concentration of chlorine (>2 ppm) it can be detrimental for those working the facilities. It can also result in environmental contamination, where the excess of chlorine reacts with organic matter and produces harmful halogenates.

    Alternatively, if the chlorine concentrations in water is very low (<0.6 ppm), there is a high risk of microbiological contamination in the installation. In order to prevent these conditions, P&B staff must perform regular analyses to control adequate levels of chlorine in the water.

    The pilot prototype installed, however, automatically controls the dosage of the chlorine in cooling towers, preventing microorganism growth and formation of unhealthy byproducts and possibly even carcinogens, such as trichlorobenzene or trichloromethane.

    Were any harmful microorganisms detected, or was the control unit able to sufficiently address the contamination with its dosing unit?

    The pilot unit only analyzes and controls aerobic bacterium at 22 and 37 ºC, as a reference indicator, rather than a specific strand of bacteria. The equipment would have problems with harmful bacteria if the value of aerobic bacterium were found to be above 10.000 cuf/100mL/. For this reason the chlorine dosage is defined, in order to avoid levels of aerobic bacterium above that quantity.

    Do you envision any potential to utilize this type of technology for disinfection in other hydraulic systems of your company’s operation?

    Specifically, the pilot would be applied to any risk equipment as it is easy to install and operate.

     

  • Miguel Amorós
  • , Pascual y Bernabeu
  • Pascual y Bernabeu S.A, founded in 1971, is based Cocentaina (Alicante, Spain) and has recently undergone a number of technical additions. The company carries out a number of different processes including: Dyeing (bleaching/dyeing of weave and knitted fabrics), continuous and discontinuous processes (Cotton, viscose, wool, synthetic fibers, and blends), printing (Rotative printing system with maximum definition for all fabric types and paper for transfer), special finishings (resined processes, foldings, flame retardants and impermeabilizers), chemical, enzymatic, wet, steam and mechanical processes (with laboratory analyses used to optimize results) 3D simulation to give shape and color, and implementing systems for environmental protection in order to satisfy market demand, through innovation, design, service, etc.
These activities are co-financed by EC via the LIFE+ Environment Call under LIFE11 ENV/ES/000552 BIOMOMI “BIO-Monitoring & Automatic Microbiological Contamination Control System of Industrial hydraulic circuits” For more information see: www.biomomi.eu

- Miguel Amorós
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