Water disinfection with low pressure UVc

Growers around the world face the challenge of producing food safely and reliably, at affordable prices. A cost-effective method that can help growers achieve this goal is to recycle their drain water (this is the irrigation water that hasn't been absorbed by the plants). Most drain water still contains expensive fertilizers that can be reused to save costs. It is vital, however, that the water is treated beforehand to neutralize any pathogens. Our HortiMaX Vitalite disinfection unit does so effectively and efficiently.

 Figure 1: The disinfection process based on UVc

Low pressure UV radiation
The VitaLite utilizes low pressure UV. The three main factors that affect low pressure UV disinfection are:
1. the UVc transmission rate of the water (which depends on the substrate and crop);
2. the desired capacity;
3. The radiation dose.

Our range of disinfection units can be equipped with three types of radiation chambers with a UV transmission of 10% or higher. A different radiation chamber can be selected for each water layer thickness and each type of solid substrate. This allows the following pathogens to be neutralized:
1. Nematodes, fungi and other pathogens (100-150 mJ/cm²)
2. Water-borne viruses (250 mJ/cm²)

An established technology with major benefits
Sectors such as the drinking water industry have been using low pressure UV technology for decades. It´s a sustainable and environmentally-friendly solution for treating and recycling water. This method of disinfection has a number of major benefits:

  • The specific wavelength of the UV radiation (exactly 254 nm) only removes micro-organisms.
  • The composition of the fertilizers is not altered. Wavelengths other than 254 nm aren't suitable for eliminating pathogens.
  • The low pressure UV lamps don't affect the fertilizer mixture or the water temperature. This means no power is used to heat the water.
  • A major benefit of this disinfection method is that no large quantities of acid are required, which have to be neutralised afterwards.
  • The VitaLite features acid control during the disinfection process, preventing the crystallization of salts. The radiation chambers are cleaned with acid, which removes algae and scale from the inner surface of the quartz tubes.

HortiMaX Vitalite CXL
Our HortiMaX VitaLite CXL uses the above-mentioned UVc technology and is tailored to the requirements of the customer. The CXL is suitable for both small and large greenhouse operations, achieving excellent results in the field. The VitaLite can be custom-designed for various capacities (in m3/h) and water transmission values (also called the T10 value).

The Vitalite CXL features an integrated controller that manages the disinfection process. The CXL comes with a free remote control application for Windows PCs. In addition, the CXL can be linked to our Synopta software that lets you operate multiple HortiMaX controllers from your PC.   Synopta is also able to display a wide range of data for analysis, in formats such as graphs and tables. This is a very useful feature according to VitaLite users.

Fast return on your investment
If we consider that each cubic meter of irrigation water contains EUR 1.5 (or USD 2.0) worth of fertilizers, growers are literally throwing away a huge amount of money by not recycling their drain water. Based on this estimate, the VitaLite will pay for itself within 6 to 18 months. The exact payback period depends on your specifications, growing medium and crop. Systems with a large water and fertilizer capacity will have a faster return on investment (on average 6 months) than those with a small capacity.

More information?
If you would like more information, please visit our VitaLite CXL webpage or contact us. Of course, you can also contact one of our dealers. We'd be happy to advise you on the best solution for your specific needs, taking into consideration the substrate used, type of crop grown, greenhouse size, etc. Our recommendations are provided without obligation.

Vitalite CXL quality
All our VitaLite units are tested extensively after assembly. This testing includes both the electrical system and the water circuit.  Each unit is also provided with a test certificate.

Upcoming events


20-22 February
Gorinchem, The Netherlands

Shouguang Veg. Expo
20-22 March
Shouguang, China

9-11 May 2018, Booth #1342
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA

Hortiflorexpo IPM
9-12 May
Beijing, China

12-14 June
Amsterdam RAI, The Netherlands

Cultivate '18
14-17 July
Columbus, OH, USA

Canadian Greenhouse Conference
3+4 October
Niagra Falls, Canada

Expo AgroAlimentaria
13-16 November
Irapuato Mexico