WHAT IS ANOLYTE AND ECA WATER

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What is - Anolyte, Anolyte Water, ECA, Electro-Chemically Activated Water, Electrolysed Water?

Anolyte is a widely used disinfection solution - but are all Anolyte products the same and what are the differences?
What is Anolyte?

In Electrolysis - Anolyte is the portion of an electrolytic solution that is in the immediate vicinity of the anode.

In disinfection – Anolyte is a biocide that is produced when sodium chloride solution is put through an electrolysis system. This produces a sodium hypochlorite / hypochlorous acid solution from the anode compartment of the cell.

Anolyte or Electrochemically Activated Water (ECA water) is a generic term for products produced through electrolysis.  As detailed below there are many variations in the Anolyte that is produced.

Do I Say Anolyte or ECA?

Anolyte is referred to as many things including:
  • Anolyte,
  • Anolyte Water, 
  • Electrochemically activated water, 
  • ECA, 
  • Electrolyzed water, 
  • Electrolyzed oxidizing water, 
  • Electro-activated water, and
  • Electro-chemically activated water solution.
....and probably a few more beside.  As with the names, the solutions produced are not uniform, they vary depending on many factors including -
  • The format of the reaction cells,  
  • The materials used in the anode, cathode, and membrane, 
  • The amount of electrical current used,  
  • The water flow used,  
  • The water quality, and
  • The purity of the brine solution.  
The various forms of anolyte exhibit chemical differences including –
  • Differing pH,  
  • Different concentrations of hyochlorite / hypochlorous acid,  
  • Different trace compounds, and
  • Different amounts of elemental chlorine.
These variations affect the efficiency of the Anolyte, the potential corrosivity of the Anolyte and whether it is suitable for use in water for human consumption.  

Below we talk about the Anolyte that we produce at Aquadron in the form of "Innowatech Anolyte".  This Anolyte is pH neutral, has 75%+ of the active chlorine available as hypochlorous acid, has negligible corrosively, andhas very few byproducts, thus complying with BS EN901.


Basics about the technology for the agent production

Membrane Cell Electrolysis (MCE) Membrane cell electrolysis (MCE) is an advanced technique of electrolysis, which has been known about for more than 100 years. The electrolysis is a reaction where a chemical substance is split into components or changed to a new substance by electrical voltage and consumption of electricity. 

The INNOWATECH MCE – uses a specified, highly pure, 0.45% brine solution as an input substance (purity in food quality as defined by BS EN973). This salt solution is split by controlled MCE (voltage and current are kept constant) into two phases – Anolyte and Catholyte. The Aquadron MCE technology produces 90% of the resultant solution as a pH neutral sodium hypochlorite solution - Anolyte, and 10% of a sodium hydroxide solution - Catholyte. 

The Aquadron® systems are fully automated and regulated plants for the production of Anolyte. The technical principle realised in the Aquadron® systems corresponds to the principle of free-chlorine and specifically hypochlorous acid, as a disinfection agent. Due to the care taken in the procedure, the Anolyte produced by the Aquadron complies with BS EN 901- Chemicals used for treatment of water intended for human consumption. Sodium hypochlorite. 

 Schematic Diagram of an MCE Cell

 The electrolysis reactor consists of two reaction chambers bordered by the surfaces of two electrodes (conventionally named the Anode and Cathode). The two reaction chambers are separated from each other by a special membrane. 

The construction and workmanship of the cell and the use of appropriate materials minimise the formation of unwanted by-products and ensure long equipment lifespans. The membrane can only be permeated by small ions driven by the force of the electrical field. Predominantly the migrating ions are those of the dissolved common salt. The membrane also ensures that the electrolysis products created in the anode and cathode areas can not re-combine. Thus the formation of oxyhydrogen is disabled by the membrane. 
Figure 1 – Principle of the MCE Technology 

Due to the special design and the control of the electrolysis cell the Anolyte produced contains a high amount of hypochlorous acid (HClO), which is the main and most effective disinfection agent in all chlorine based sanitisers. 

 As a result of the engineering expertise employed in the Aquadron’s construction the presence of dissolved elemental (dissolved gas) chlorine (which is in present in high con-centrations in many generic Anolyte products and which can be a source of corrosion risk) and the presence of higher oxidized chlorine species (Chlorate and Perchlorate, which are very often present in high concentrations in chlorine dioxide and chlorine bleaching lye) remain at very low concentrations. For this reason INNOWATECH Anolyte® fulfils the purity demands of the BS EN 901. 

The active agent INNOWATECH Anolyte® 
In the UK a list of allowed substances for drinking water treatment is given in the Drinking Water Inspectorate publication – LIST OF APPROVED PRODUCTS for use in Public Drinking Water Supply in the United Kingdom, May 2013. Sodium hypo-chlorite is among the allowed drinking water disinfectants. 

Why INNOWATECH Anolyte® is more efficient than “Classic Sodium Hypochlorite”? 
The active agent for the reliable disinfection of water is hypochlorous acid, which is named after its salt, sodium hypochlorite. If chlorine is used for disinfection hypo-chlorous acid is initially formed. The mixture of substances is based on the pH of the liquid formation (see picture 2). 

INNOWATECH Anolyte® is originally produced as a very pure pH neutral agent. 

At pH 7 the share of hypochlorous acid in the solution is 78%. This HOCl can immediately act without any reaction or balance adjustment. 

Figure 2 – Balance of chlorine components depending on pH 

The redox potential of hypochlorous acid is with +1.5 V much higher than that of the sodium chlorite anion or chlorine dioxide with +0.95 V. 

Because of Innowatech Anolytes pH neutrality and the contolled conditions that exist in the electrolysis cell, any hydrogen ions produced are immediately neutralised with hydroxide ions. In the INNOWATECH Aquadron® systems the brine enters the anodic chamber with an alkaline pH. The pH of the brine coming into the anodic chamber is adjusted so that the product (Anolyte) leaves the chamber with an pH of 6.8 – 7.2. The amount of dissolved Chlorine is therefore about 0.1% compared to the active agent hypochlorous acid. 

Taking into account that the applied concentrations of the active agent are in the ppm range, this means that chlorine only exists in the ppb range. 

It is obvious, that chlorine products differ in composition, properties and effectiveness. The difference comes mainly from how they are produced. INNOWATECH Anolyte® balances the substances at a neutral pH and so produces a disinfection solution in the most effective form with the minimum of byproduct formation. 

Comparison of INNOWATECH Anolyte® and Chlorine bleach 
Parameter

Aggregate State


Hazard Potential


pH

Share of free-chlorine


Smell at drinking water concentration

Safety


Anolyte

Clear uncoloured liquid, consistence like water, slight smell of chlorine

Not caustic and oxidising, no bleaching effect

6.7 – 7.2

200 – 1,200 mg/l depending on plant type


Not noticeable

No explosive danger.   No spontaneous reaction with reductants or acids
Chlorine Bleach

Clear yellow – green coloured, strong alkaline liquid with a sharp smell

Caustic and oxidising, strong bleaching effect

12 - 13

30,000 – 150,000 mg/l, depending on dilution 

Typical smell of chlorine

Explosive danger by reaction of sodium hypochlorite with reduct-ants and acids
Summary

Anolyte is an effective disinfectant that can be produced in a cost-effective and safe manner.  There are many variations in the ways that Anolyte can be produced and many physical and chemical variations in the Anolyte that is produced.

The Aquadron technology produces a very pure, pH neutral Anolyte that complies with BS EN901 and thus can be used in drinking water and in food and drink applications.

The ingredients used (food-grade pure common salt + conditioned water) for Innowatech Anolyte production correspond to the UK and European drinking water ordinances and the Biocide Directive.  Engineering, construction, installation and service of the Aquadron systems are also compliant to laws and guidelines for water treatment, disinfection, legionella control etc in the UK and the European Union. 
Guaranteed Disinfection
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