A new approach to electrolysed water that now allows cleaning and sterilisation in one hit has been developed by Ozo Innovations, in collaboration with several partners in the food and beverage and farming industries. Claire Rowan spoke to Ozo Innovations CEO Rowan Gardner about this environmentally friendly and efficient solution.
Although the underlying chemistry involved in electrolysing water has existed for years, what is different about Ozo’s offering is how the electrolysed water is produced and its potency as a disinfectant and antifungal agent, which can simultaneously cut through any grease and dirt on surfaces.
Traditionally, electrolysis is done in a cell with a membrane that effectively separates the positive and negative ions in a water and salt (sodium chloride) solution. This produces two different liquids each with their own pH: one alkaline and one acidic.
“The membranes in the classic process were prone to breakage and also resulted in a difficult to handle solution,” said Rowan. “We use patented flow cell technology that produces electrolysed water with a neutral pH, which is far easier to handle. In addition, there are no membranes to break, making it a far more robust process for use in ‘real life’ environments.
“Because of the electrode chemistry in the flow cell, we can now put a lot more charge into the water and so give it far more potent disinfectant properties. We are capable of producing electrolysed water with 2,000ppm of active molecules – other suppliers offer only 1/40 of this concentration. Such potency opens up opportunities for electrolysed water that were not possible before,” said Rowan.
Ozo’s elocube device can now be installed in a factory and used to transform food grade salt and water into a powerful cleaning disinfectant solution that is effective at room temperature and does not rely on hot water and caustic chemicals, according to Rowan.
Independent laboratory tests have shown that the elocube solution kills 99.99% of Listeria, Salmonella and E. coli and can inactivate the norovirus; plus it is effective as a disinfectant in both clean and dirty test conditions.
As many cleaning regimes involve washing, followed by sanitisation, followed by rinsing, having one solution that can be used safely to accomplish cleaning and sanitisation without need for hot water brings significant benefits.
“Once the equipment is visually clean, it is also disinfected. Depending on the soil, the solution works within a matter of minutes, rather than the 20 minutes usually needed for detergents. So, using our electrolysed water products can dramatically reduce or eliminate the need for chemicals, save energy and water plus ensure that no hot cleaning solutions enter your temperature controlled processing environment,” said Rowan. “We have been working very closely with a handful of pioneering companies who have been very open with us about the challenges they face, not only in hygiene but also commercially.”
Successful trials have already been completed in the meat, bakery, dairy, fresh produce and food service sectors, where multiple applications have been tested. It has been demonstrated to provide efficient decontamination of drains – known to be reservoirs for Listeria monocytogenes ; an effective cleaning in place solution, and a valuable solution for washing produce to improve shelf life. Other trials are ongoing with major food producers on the application of Ozo’s modular elosystem that can be scaled up to meet any volume requirements. At the push of a button, the on-site elosystem produces the powerful electrolysed water disinfectant, which can be applied through a spray nozzle or as a mist or dry fog.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019