Minnesota Patent of the Month – June 2022

Boats and various types of watercraft rely on the one resource they have easy access to in order to run most of their system. For instance, they might draw water in for use in their air conditioning system, potable water systems, sanitation, propulsion and more. Since the bodies of water they travel across are natural, there are living creatures and biological products that will be drawn in along with the water. 

These biological products can lead to bio-fouling and then to the clogging on ob-board water systems. If clogged, they may be inefficient, overheat, or flat out malfunction. The traditional method of combating this bio-fouling includes semi-annual acid cleaning of the water systems which is expensive, time consuming, and requires hazardous chemicals. 

ElectroSea, LLC has developed an alternative solution which is more efficient and can run more regularly without the cost or hazard of an acid wash. Their solution is a recirculation system which generates a biocide used to prevent bio-fouling regularly. Their system ensures that each component of the existing on board water system that is exposed to water during normal operation is also periodically treated with biocide. 

In order to generate this biocide, the system is equipped with electrolytic modules. A gas sensing electrode is coupled to the biocide generating system. A power source applies a current across the electrodes, driving electrolysis which generates the biocide. A water flow sensor detects how much water is being pulled through and controls how much biocide is being generated. The biocide is then moved through the system by diffusion or through a pump. 

The generation system is positioned between a strainer and the pump. The strainer provides a mechanical filter, preventing larger particulates from passing through the water system. A portion of the generated biocide will move into the strainer and inhibit bio-growth on the strainer. Between the preemptive straining and the cycling of biocide, this system effectively prevents the growth of barnacles and various marine organisms throughout the seawater circuit. The automated maintenance reduces the need for harsh acid washes or constant cleaning of multiple strainers. 

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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