Sorubin Aeration Technology explained
How can Sorubin’s aeration technology save so much energy?
This is a common question in meetings with consultants. Our answer is usually a question: “How can other aeration technologies be so energy in-effective?”
From an energy point of view - the energy you put in to a system decides the outcome and the inherent energy losses in a system determine the energy efficiency, or in-efficiency. But let’s start with a description of how water is oxygenated.
Surface area, molecular diffusion and elevation time
Oxygen molecules diffuse, i.e. move from air to water and from water to air according to the physics books and the laws of diffusion. This means that in the surface area where the air meets the water (bubble surface), an exchange of oxygen molecules happens. This means that oxygen molecules move both from the bubble, in to the water and vice versa. So, the larger the surface, the more oxygen will take the step from air to water. If you take one litre of air as a bubble, you have a relatively small surface for oxygen transfer. If you divide that bubble in to a million small bubbles, you will have an enormous surface for oxygen transfer!
The other important factor is called the elevation time. The longer it takes for a bubble to rise through the water, the more time it will have to release its oxygen. And small bubbles rise more slowly than large bubbles do. It is better to createsmall bubbles since they elevate slowly. Large bubbles elevate fast. It’s also better to generate the bubbles as deep down as possible, allowing them to travel upwards for as long as possible.
Conclusion - the most energy effective aeration technology is the one that creates small bubbles, deep down and with the least energy input!
Let’s look at how some common aeration technologies work and compare with Sorubin:
Surface aerators work in a similar way to fountains, at least in the respect that they send water up in to the air. Surface aerators are generally sturdy and require little maintenance. However, they are the most energy IN-efficient aerator type on the market.
This is a schematic jet aerator. It is submerged and only the chimney is seen above the surface. On the side is a submergible pump that pumps water through the horizontal pipe. Air is sucked in via the vertical pipe and mixed with the water. This results in a jet stream of water and bubbles that are sprayed in one direction. The water-in-the-pipe is accelerated just underneath the chimney. The acceleration creates suction through the chimney, resulting in atmospheric air being mixed in to the jet stream. Often, this kind of aerators is also used to direct water flow in a dam or basin.
Much of the energy you put in to a jet aerator is used to move water, and not to aerate. Thus the low energy effectiveness of this technical solution. Secondly, jet aerators don’t perform well in deep waters. Thirdly, they suffer from well-documented problems with clogging.
Compressor based aeration
This shows a compressor on land with tubes leading air down to the membranes at the bottom of an aerated basin. Compressors are usually placed in their own building or special room because of their high noise levels. Larger compressors or compressor systems also require cooling. For smaller ponds or situations, blow machines can also be used. The compressed air is transported via a system of tubes and is dispersed through holes in various kinds of membranes or pipes near the bottom of dams.
The heat generated by the compressors is energy lost because it is very difficult to recycle. And in the case of cooling compressors, more energy is utilized. Compressed air develops heat and you get pressure losses as the air is pushed through the piping. As the air is finally pushed through small holes and out in to the water, further pressure loss occurs.
In the little longer run, membranes wear out, become clogged or both, meaning that (costly) maintenance is a constant requirement for this solution.
Sorubin’s patented technology is a bottom-mounted aerator that utilizes clever flow dynamics engineering.
Generating a vortex inside a tube that has contact with the atmospheric air, means that we “pull” air all the way down to the bottom of the tube – at a very low energy expense.
At the bottom of the tube is a special impeller that sucks in the mix of air and water and mixes the two under high pressure. The result being that very small bubbles are firstly formed and then dispersed radially from the aerator.
Sorubin’s patented technology has very small energy losses! The water-cooled motor is one of the most energy effective on the market, but still generates some heat. Against the inside of the tube wall, there is also a tiny amount of friction. Inside the impeller, there is friction from the necessary turbulence and the counter pressure outside the impeller needs to be overcome. Sorubin’s aerators move air by using highly energy effective flow mechanics.
Working together with the natural flow mechanics of water and air
Instead of using brute force to push air in to the water, our technology gently pulls it in. From very complex mathematics and physics, we have created an energy effective, sturdy and straightforward solution that we are proud to nickname: “sink- and-forget”.