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World leading biotech company chooses Veolia Water Technologies to deliver ultra pure water

publication date: Jun 21, 2024
author/source: Veolia Water Technologies UK



Veolia Water Technologies has designed and installed a bespoke ultrapure water purification system for an Oxford-based biotechnology research company.

Based on its existing MEDICA™ Pro 120, the tailored solution ensures that a continuous supply of ultrapure water is distributed and meets all of the exacting requirements for cutting-edge molecular biology. The added advantage for the client is that the system has also increased their laboratory’s production capacity.

There was an urgent need to replace and upgrade the biotechnology facility’s existing water purification system, which was unfit for purpose and increasingly difficult to maintain due to obsolete parts. The team from Veolia Water Technologies needed to meet rigorous requirements for the supply of ultra-pure water as it is crucial in eliminating contamination that could affect the accuracy of results. The team also wanted to increase the flow capacity to get more out of the new system to feed various vessels and washers.

The brief was to provide a system that purified, stored, and locally distributed approximately 300L of ultra-pure water every day. Given Veolia Water Technologies existing and successful relationship as a service provider, it was able to work closely with the client and promptly provide the best solution for the facility’s exacting requirements.

“We are flexible and can respond very rapidly,” said Etienne Arman, Scientific Area Sales Manager at Veolia Water Technologies UK. “We proposed a solution to upgrade from a robust Type 2 proposal to ultra-pure water within a week from the date of the site visit as the client realised that ultra-pure water was required instead. The MEDICA™ Pro 120 is a standard piece of equipment, but our configuration is highly bespoke to deliver ultra-pure water.”

Together with the MEDICA™ Pro 120 and an external 300L reservoir, the downstream purification technologies included a pressurised ring main capable of delivering up to 40 L/min to four points of use via an inverter-driven pump. The water then passed through a virgin resin deionisation cylinder, a pharma-grade UV lamp, and a wall-mounted 0.2um filter.

These technologies had to be configured specifically for the application. Before installing the system, careful planning was needed to determine the position of the equipment in the room. During the system’s installation, close collaboration with the glassware washer company’s technical support and on-site plumbing professional were essential to ensure all points of use were fully functional.

“Ultra-pure water is an elusive medium: its distribution will invariably lead to a slight loss of quality in the pipes, valves, and fittings,” said Arman. “The high purity and high flow rate are almost a conundrum: you can have either, but to have both is more complex and requires greater finesse in the design. When water goes through a storage reservoir, the chances of organic contaminant can be difficult to mitigate, and large volumes of unpure water may be dispensed. Hence there is a need for additional bacterial and organic load control measures on the distribution loop.”

Veolia Water Technologies’ solution delivers an aggregated 40 L/min peak flow rate to a variety of washers and reaction vessels. The fittings are designed so that they can be easily opened, bypassed, or replaced at any time.

Also, the MEDICA™ Pro 120 is designed to purify tap water to 15 MΩ-cm and store it in a 300L reservoir. Periodic recirculation ensures a steady quality of the reservoir’s contents and avoids stagnation. The reservoir feeds into an inverter-driven pump, which passes water through a virgin resin cylinder to polish the treated water to 18.2 MΩ-cm. The water then flows through a pharma-grade UV lamp, which inactivates any residual organic material, and finally goes through a 0.2um filter, which will retain any inactivated biological remnants.

Veolia Water Technologies’ team will continue to service the system, while the biotechnology company has already made plans to replicate this solution elsewhere at its premises. The lab has been future-proofed to accommodate an extra reaction vessel, which can be connected to the same distribution loop without any drawbacks on the existing equipment’s performance.


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