Harish Anantharaman, MD, Accelerated Cleaning Systems India Pvt. Ltd introduces a revolutionary new concept that could help the Railways meet all of its sustainability targets.
As the Railways works towards a zero-discharge future, it becomes incumbent on them to invest heavily in effluent treatment plants that will rid used water of chemicals required during housekeeping activities. With a definite tilt towards plant-based, sustainable chemicals, how will the Railways respond to a method of cleaning that requires no chemicals at all?
Aqueous ozone is the silver bullet that has the potential to transform cleaning as we know it.
How it works
Oxygen from the air is converted into ozone and mixed with regular cold tap water to form aqueous ozone. When sprayed onto a surface, this is attracted to soils, germs and other contaminants. Once attached, the ozone eliminates them and then converts back to oxygen and water.
This requires no special handling, no chemical inventory and simplifies the cleaning process. It can be used wherever chemicals are currently used, including toilets, seats and stations, and also removes odour rather than just masks it.
Unlike many conventional cleaners, it leaves no residue or sticky coating on the surface. This promotes both passenger experience and worker health. Other than water and oxygen – which is what we started off with – there are no effluents.
It acts a few thousand times faster than bleach. All chemicals need a period of time to act, only after which they can be wiped off. In the case of aqueous ozone, only 3-4 seconds are needed for effective action, enabling a spray-and-wipe method of application.
Minimal Active Ingredient
Only a very small amount of ozone needs to be generated for the solution to work. “We’re talking about 99.0009% tap water from the railway facility, and 0.0001% of ozone that will be generated by the machine.”
No Transportation Cost
Since the liquid is generated on-site, no cleaning chemical needs to be transported from a faraway factory to a central depot, and then to the railway facility. Costs come down, the sustainability quotient goes up.
Cleaning budgets are not allocated according to the level of dirt, nor are they spent according to it. Railway facilities tend to be cleaned periodically rather than as per need; there is no budget for high-traffic conditions. Aqueous ozone allows cleaning solutions to be generated as per need on-site; cleaning can be made to correlate with the need for cleaning, without an increase in Opex costs. The liquid can be generated whenever, wherever and as many times as necessary.
The unit that generates the liquid is portable, and can be deployed in various areas. Unlike some other chemical-based solutions, pathogens cannot develop resistance to aqueous ozone. Once generated, the liquid must be used within four or five hours, else it reverts to being oxygen and water.
Ozone Laundry System
A by-product of the above, this will recharge water with ozone nano bubble water, which when used in laundries, reduces the requirement for detergent by 60 to 80%. This directly improves the life of linen, eliminates chemical residue on it, and reduces rinsing time. Consequently, power and water consumption will fall too.