Aquatic Agility

Mukesh Kumar
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Repurposing Wastewater as an Ultra-Pure Resource

How clean is clean enough? When it comes to microelectronics manufacturing, there’s always room for enhancement. Helping to break this clean reach concern isultra-pure water( UPW) — water that has been fully deionized to remove any implicit pollutants.

But chastity comes at a price. For Northrop Grumman’s Advanced Technology Laboratories( ATL) near Baltimore, Maryland, reducing drinkable water operation and limiting the quantum of wastewater created by its manufacturing processes was an ongoing challenge. In support of the company’s 20 drinkable water reduction thing and feting the eventuality exercise occasion, a new, state- of- the- art ultrapure water factory and wastewater recovery system is projected to save at least 33 million gallons of water per time. blue water tank and pipes .

Tapping the Ultra-Pure Implicit in Wastewater

As director of engineering John Monk notes, clean water “ is critical to our capability to make microelectronics. It’s used for all wet processing, working with acidic or introductory chemicals, drawing accoutrements and, in some cases, depositing accoutrements similar as when plating essence. ” The use of UPW makes it possible for ATL to produce some of the world’s most advanced microelectronics, including crucial technology structure for systems similar as the James Webb Space Telescope and the APG- 81 and APG- 83 radars.

But “ clean ” is n’t enough; water must be extremist purified to remove any trace of chemical or mineral impurity. To streamline the process and insure UPW is always available on- demand, Northrop Grumman lately replaced an on- point deionization factory able of treating municipally supplied water and turning it into UPW. still, as product affair ramped up, so did the quantum of drinkable water used and the quantum of wastewater created. To help ameliorate effectiveness and reduce total drinkable water operation, installations, Environmental Health and Safety( EHS), and UPW factory drivers and masterminds began looking for ways to reduce water consumption without impacting functional outturn. The result? Resource repurposing.

Water, Water far and wide

Water is water, right? Not relatively. In the case of drinkable drinking water, dissolved minerals and chemicals are absorbed by humans to profit fleshly functions. In the case of microelectronics manufacturing, those same organic and inorganic accoutrements can produce critical blights or unanticipated electric currents that render the products being made unreliable at stylish and useless at worst.

The same is also true in rear. While Scientific American notes that the negative charge of water motes in anultra-pure state make them a “ super cleanser ” given their capability to capture indeed the smallest specks of dirt or debris, UPW would be terrible as a thirst- quenching libation since, as the SA piece puts it, “ If you were to drinkultra-pure water, it would literally drink you back, ” stinking out precious chemicals from slaver. Not a great choice.

And just as consumed drinking water is converted into waste by the mortal body, so too is UPW as it’s used in the manufacturing process and discharged to the original megacity. To help reduce total resource use, the EHS platoon first reached out to the deionization factory’s operations platoon and also, in 2016, contracted Stantec to conduct water use assessments. These were “ designed to identify cost-effective water conservation measures and give rough order of magnitude cost estimates for abstract openings linked by Stantec and the point labor force, ” according to environmental sustainability program lead Mike Ensor.

The results were clear The topmost implicit savings came from the addition of secondary treatment process that could repurpose used UPW as force water for the deionization factory. water pipes and pollutants .

Reduce, Exercise, Repurpose

“ When I suggested reusing the wastewater, they jumped on the idea, ” said Lou Yannone, the factory’s principal mastermind. But the path to repurposed UPW was n’t easy. The original deionization factory was nearing its end of life in 2018, so the platoon decided to double up and combine the two sweats into a single new factory. still, as Monk notes, “ It was critical that they proved to everybody that the water quality was still the same before we made any metamorphoses and we’re measuring some effects in the corridor per billion order. ”

After attesting that the content of the repurposed and treated resource met or exceeded the original force water quality, the platoon was free to move forward with redevelopment, but according to Yannone, “ It was veritably, veritably high pressure because what we were doing could potentially shut down the labs, which was the last thing we wanted to do. ”

The platoon decided on a phased approach that integrated pieces of the new system one by one to keep the old factory operating indeed as new structure was erected. installations engineering director, Jack Leek noted the magnitude of this trouble. “ From exploration to design to obliteration and perpetration, the platoon abused a systems allowing approach to anticipate any and all impacts performing from themulti-staged design. ”

The design took further than two times from design to completion. “ Every meeting, design review, outfit tie in, and control point was designed to insure we continue to deliver the loftiest quality of water to the labs ” said outfit mastermind Jeff Shapanka. In April 2020 the new deionization factory and wastewater exercise system was completely functional. moment, ATL operates at nearly a 50 exercise rate, meaning half of each gallon is repurposed and retreated for use in ATL.

The results speak for themselves. In its first six months of operation, the new factory saved16.5 million gallons of water, and Northrop Grumman’s sweats were honored with the California Industrial Environmental Association’s 2020 Environmental Excellence Award.

Yannone neatly sums up this new, repurposed resource reality “ Right now, the factory is running the stylish it has since we began. ”

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