Daily household chores such as cleaning the kitchen and washing fruits and vegetables are about to become greener, more efficient and more effective thanks to a new home water purifier that uses nano bubble technology.
Gold Medal at the 45th International Exhibition of Invention 2017
The Nano Bubble food cleaning and surface sanitisation system, which is scheduled to go to market later this year, is based on the technology developed by the Nano and Advanced Materials Institute (NAMI), a Hong Kong Government designated research and development centre. NAMI’s Nano Bubble - Turning Ordinary Air and Water into Strong Oxidising Fluid was awarded a gold medal at the 45th International Exhibition of Inventions in 2017 for its technology which generates nano-sized bubbles, which have good efficiency of gas dissolution and stable oxidising property. The generated oxygen-carrying bubbles have a number of beneficial uses including for sanitation, sterilisation, aquaculture and hydroponic farming.
Nano Bubble saw the opportunity of applying the technology in a domestic environment and began working together with NAMI about a year ago to develop Nano Bubble’s home-use system. NAMI holds the patent for the nano bubble technology, while Nano Bubble holds the patent for its application in domestic food cleaning and surface sanitization.
Efficient and effective pesticide removal machine
The idea to concentrate on a business to consumer (B2C) domestic food cleaning and sanitization system came when Nano Bubble’s founders saw that existing products using traditional, larger-sized ozone bubbles were not as effective, while existing nano-bubble machines were on an industrial scale and not suitable for home use.
“We saw ozone vegetable washing machines in China and realised that they were not user friendly, there was a strong ozone smell and a number of different issues,” says Nano Bubble’s project manager Ronald Tan. “The big bubbles burst quickly at the surface and they did not deliver the cleaning effect that we had expected.”
The company decided to explore the idea of making a better machine. The nano-bubble machine improves cleaning efficiency and effectiveness. In the case of washing vegetables, soaking the vegetables in nano-size ozone bubble water removes pesticides. The nano-size ozone bubble water can also be used to clean surfaces, reducing the need to use chemical cleaners.
The system is integrated into a water filtration device and the size of the machine is about a box of A4 paper, which can sit below the sink. Consumers can use the filtered water for drinking and then, with the flick of a switch, can change to the nano-sized ozone bubble water for cleaning needs.
“Because in one litre of water we have billions of nano-sized bubbles, the total amount of ozone is reduced,” Tan says. “The surface area for the nano bubbles to engage with the impurities or the pesticides is increased compared with traditional technology.”
The system is also environmentally friendly by helping users reduce water consumption and also reducing their usage of household cleaning chemicals. Often fruits and vegetables in Asia are grown with a high amount of pesticides. While washing the chemicals traditionally involves rinsing the fruit and vegetables several times, vegetables and fruit can simply be soaked in the nano-sized ozone bubble water for 30 minutes for more effective cleaning that uses less water.
A green alternative to domestic disinfectants
Similarly, the nano-sized ozone bubble water is effective on cleaning common household surfaces.
“The chemical production process can be quite polluting and can consume a lot of energy,” Tan says. “The system uses just a small amount of power to generate the ozone and then the nano-sized ozone bubble water can be used to clean without having to add any common household cleaners. This reduces the amount of chemicals needed.”
With larger bubbles, two of the issues had been the ozone dissolving as well as the stability of the ozone in water. The nano bubbles, however, can stay stable in water for approximately 20 hours, with the ozone typically reducing back to oxygen within 12 hours. The technology has a simple set-up and does not require a sophisticated pumping system or large pressure tank making it both environmentally friendly as well as cost effective.
Nano Bubble is looking to bring its product to market later this year. The system is currently undergoing a number of certifications, while design modifications to the existing prototype are geared at making the final product user-friendly.
“The development process is going smoothly and we know NAMI has strong R&D,” Tan says. “The next phase will be quite challenging with the go-to market operations. With the technology we had a mission to create a product that is smaller, safer, saves energy and delivers on the cleaning elements. We’ve achieved these clear objectives, but now we have some important decisions to make for the next go-to-market phase.”
Up next: a hydroponic farming system
While the company is focused on its current water purifier for the B2C market, Nano Bubble is also investigating a product for hydroponic farms.
“We are discussing the potential of this application with farms in Hong Kong, with the use of nano bubbles to promote the growth of vegetables,” Tan said. “We’ll be continuing to proceed in this direction, although at the moment we’re focused on the B2C water purifier market.”
For further information about Nano Bubble, please visit www.nanobb.com. For further commercialisation opportunities involving the Nano Bubble - Turning Ordinary Air and Water into Strong Oxidising Fluid, please go to www.nami.org.hk