In 2017, China inaugurated its first facility that uses electron beams (EBs) to treat industrial wastewater, and in 2020 opened the world’s largest wastewater treatment facility using this technology, with the capacity to treat 30 million liters of industrial wastewater per day. Now a demonstration facility is treating medical wastewater using this technology, processing 400 m3/day.

A self-shielded electron accelerator was engineered specifically to irradiate medical wastewater, eliminating the use of chemical disinfectants and the attendant formation of chemical reagent residues. This treatment process is more effective than conventional treatment routes at removing organic molecules such as viruses and antibiotics.

The accelerator produces high energy EBs to react with DNA/RNA molecules or microbial cells, hindering microbial growth and inactivating viruses, including the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and pathogenic bacteria. It also breaks down antibiotics in the water, which is something traditional sterilization methods cannot do. The equipment operates at room temperature and avoids the energy consumption of steam and heat-based treatment options.

The quality of the treated wastewater has exceeded China’s standard for disposal of wastewater by infectious disease hospitals.

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