Method and Apparatus for Passively Bubbling Gas Through a Liquid

The present technology exploits a pressure reduction that occurs when a closed tank is drained to draw air or another gas into the tank at a location from which the gas can form bubbles that rise through the liquid in the tank. Many processes require the periodic addition of gas, in the form of bubbles, to liquid in a tank to promote one or more physical, chemical or biological processes (mixing and scouring are some examples of physical processes that are promoted by the addition of bubbles to a liquid). The addition of gas is generally achieved using mechanical devices, such as blowers or gas pumps to generate the pressure differential required to collect and convey the gas to a location where it is released as bubbles that rise through a tank containing liquid. The equipment and energy needed for the addition of air bubbles can account for a substantial fraction of the operating cost of conventional membrane systems. In some applications, it is either not possible, or is difficult and/or expensive to use mechanical devices to add air bubbles to the liquid. For example, if no or intermittent electrical energy is available, blowers and gas pumps cannot be used, or would require significant additional equipment, such as a generator or other power source to accommodate, adding cost and complexity to the system. The use of non-mechanical aeration is also important when personnel with the technical skills to maintain/repair mechanical equipment is not readily available. The technology may be implemented in several configurations depending on the application needs. The technology also enables a simple system for membrane filtration operation, including scouring, backwash, and integrity testing steps. Paul Cyr paul.cyr@uilo.ubc.ca 604-822-8166

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