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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1986 Jun;51(6):1186-98.

Countermeasures to microbiofouling in simulated ocean thermal energy conversion heat exchangers with surface and deep ocean waters in hawaii.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822.


Countermeasures to biofouling in simulated ocean thermal energy conversion heat exchangers have been studied in single-pass flow systems, using cold deep and warm surface ocean waters off the island of Hawaii. Manual brushing of the loops after free fouling periods removed most of the biofouling material. However, over a 2-year period a tenacious film formed. Daily free passage of sponge rubber balls through the tubing only removed the loose surface biofouling layer and was inadequate as a countermeasure in both titanium and aluminum alloy tubes. Chlorination at 0.05, 0.07, and 0.10 mg liter for 1 h day lowered biofouling rates. Only at 0.10 mg liter was chlorine adequate over a 1-year period to keep film formation and heat transfer resistance from rising above the maximum tolerated values. Lower chlorination regimens led to the buildup of uneven or patchy films which produced increased flow turbulence. The result was lower heat transfer resistance values which did not correlate with the amount of biofouling. Surfaces which were let foul and then treated with intermittent or continuous chlorination at 0.10 mg of chlorine or less per liter were only partially or unevenly cleaned, although heat transfer measurements did not indicate that fact. It took continuous chlorination at 0.25 mg liter to bring the heat transfer resistance to zero and eliminate the fouling layer. Biofouling in deep cold seawater was much slower than in the warm surface waters. Tubing in one stainless-steel loop had a barely detectable fouling layer after 1 year in flow. With aluminum alloys sufficient corrosion and biofouling material accumulated to require that some fouling coutermeasure be used in long-term operation of an ocean thermal energy conversion plant.

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