SA’s ozone-based sanitising innovation

Will ozone become a major hygiene technology in the food industry? ArcAqua, the South African developer of the ozone-based sanitising system of the same name, believes it has this potential. It’s also captured the attention of Remgro’s venture capital firm, Invenfin.

“The use of ozone to clean fresh produce is not novel, but to date commercial systems have always been large, expensive installations, which is why the ArcAqua system is such an exciting innovation,” says Stuart Gast, executive director at Invenfin.

“The tremendous shift towards fresh, organic and unprocessed foods demands that more care is taken in preparation and storage. This makes the ArcAqua ozone-based sanitising system an effective, low-cost and chemical-free solution for all food preparation necessities.”

The patented ArcAqua system is comprised of a control unit – a sealed, in-line chamber where the ozone is generated by means of a corona discharge – and a nozzle through which the ozone is mixed with tap water to produce a fine spray for application to the produce or equipment.

Ozone is a marvel of nature as the molecule rapidly destroys bacteria by attacking and oxidising the micro-organism’s cell wall and then reverting to oxygen.

ArcAqua converts tap water into a powerful sanitiser; this sanitisation is achieved within less than 10 seconds and has been proven to kill 99.9% of all known bacteria, which, besides reducing the risk of food poisoning, has the added commercial benefit of significantly extending the shelf life of fresh food – up to doubling it in certain instances.

ArcAqua - Russel Crispin“These results have sparked local and international interest from commercial kitchens, industrial cleaning companies, hotel chains, and food manufacturers alike, who have recognised the economic benefits the ArcAqua system can provide. Of course, being a green, chemical-free alternative to traditional sanitising solutions is another key benefit,” says ArcAqua CEO, Crispin Russell (left).

While the food and hospitality industries are ArcAqua’s initial targets, the sanitising system can easily be adapted for application in a wide variety of industries from the medical and laboratory fields, to public facilities such as factories, gyms, bathrooms, and even in the home.

Benefits for private and industrial use include reduction of spoilage costs, as well as significant reduction in water and electricity consumption.

Applications in a food processing environment include:

  • Sanitising and cleaning fresh produce fruit, vegetables, salads, meat, fish
  • Prevents discolouration of freshly cut produce such as potato chips, apples or pears
  • Sanitising and cleaning of refrigerators, cold rooms, eliminating yeast, protozoa and mould spores
  • Sanitising and cleaning equipment & facilities, wooden vats.
  • Staff hygiene – hand washing

Gast says the ArcAqua system sparked immediate interest for Invenfin as it is a simple but innovative, environmentally friendly solution with global potential.

“When looking at potential investments, we are drawn to products or solutions that are at the intersection of global issues; the ArcAqua ozone-based sanitising system very clearly meets the macro trends of healthier eating and being environmentally-friendly. The nature and experience of our partners at ArcAqua added to our interest, as they understand their business and market very well”, he concludes.