Acoustic Cavitation Technology for Drinking Water Treatment in Small Rural Utilities
Award last edited on: 7/29/2014

Sponsored Program
Awarding Agency
Total Award Amount
Award Phase
Solicitation Topic Code

Principal Investigator
William Pozzo

Company Information

Harris Acoustic Products Corporation

141 Washington Street
Walpole, MA 02032
   (508) 660-6000
Location: Single
Congr. District: 08
County: Norfolk

Phase I

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Milk prices have steadily increased over the past two decades; however, the price paid to farmers has remained around $1.00 per gallon over the last two decades. This has resulted in many small dairy farmers getting out of the business. The purpose of this project is to design a system that a small dairy farmer can use to process milk so that he can send it directly to the consumer and avoid the added cost of delivering the milk to a larger distributor for processing. OBJECTIVES: To provide the small dairy farmer the capability of carrying out their own milk processing. Typically, pasteurization/homogenization operations are carried out at the wholesale level in large plants capable of processing 1,000 to 45,000 gallons of milk per hour. Such capacities, and the large capital requirement, act as a barrier to entry for small dairy farmers and prohibits them from getting a better price by carrying out their own milk processing. APPROACH: Acoustic cavitation will be used as the means to pasteurize/homogenize milk. Use of acoustic cavitation for neutralizing pathogens is well known in the literature. Harris Acoustic Products is proposing a new pasteurization/homogenization treatment using sonication as an inexpensive and practical way to fill the need

Phase II

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Drinking-water sources are vulnerable to a broad range of contamination. This project examines the synergistic effectiveness of acoustic cavitation with reduced chlorine doses to enhance waterborne pathogen inactivation. OBJECTIVES: Water-quality problems affect both the rural population and the agricultural sector. Unsafe bacterial or chemical levels would affect human health if treatment is not used. Poor-quality water also affects agricultural production. Diversification options such as food or non-food processing such as dairy operations are simply not possible or practical without adequate water treatment to ensure the safety of the water for the processing and cleaning operations. Water quality can interfere with animal feed mixes and livestock health, and animal weight gain may be impaired. The objective of this multi-phase SBIR project is to develop a drinking-water disinfection system using a synergistic combination of chlorination and acoustic cavitation. The system will leverage of the fact that the combined system will use 50% or even less chlorine than is used currently and thereby reduce the levels of DBPs. Yet the system will be more effective against a wide range of pathogens that are immune to chlorine treatment alone. APPROACH: The Phase II goal is to validate the use of robust piezoelectric ceramic elements (in a novel configuration) for generating acoustic cavitation and to demonstrate the practicality of integration with chlorine. The approach is to: (1) design a prototype flow-through cavitation chamber with a chlorine-injection system; (2) demonstrate the required inactivation of protozoa, bacteria, and viruses; (3) demonstrate destruction of trichloroethylene, methyl-t-butyl ether and atrazine; (4) test the prototype for inactivation of indigenous microorganism found in natural waters; and (5) assess potential economic benefits of deploying the new technology in rural communities