Carla Fiford

Success for Radical Waters with chemical-free brewery CIP

Three years after Radical Waters pioneered the supply of electrochemically-activated water (ECA) technology as ground- breaking green technology for cleaning in place (CIP) applications in the carbonated soft drink (CSD) Industry, the company reports it has satisfied the stringent requirements of SABMiller and achieved proven cost savings per CIP of 95%.

“By using Radical Waters’ innovative technology SABMiller addresses at least two of its ten sustainable development priority areas, which are the use of less water and a reduction in our energy and carbon footprint. In this regard, the sharing of such technology advances has global benefits for the group, as well as other companies with like-minded objectives,” says Stuart Richter, SABMiller Technical Manager Packaging.

After the conclusion of a six- month trial on one of the packaging lines in the 2.2 million hectolitres per annum Chamdor Brewery in Johannesburg, Radical Waters says it has met the stringent anti-microbial efficacy standards required for packaging of beer and alcohol-flavoured beverages, and also validated total savings per CIP of 93% when compared to a traditional CIP, broken down as follows:

  • Water reduction of 83%
  • Time reduction of 43%
  • Energy reduction due to cleaning at ambient temperature of 98%
  • Chemical cost reduction of 99%.

Vijay Sookhdeo, SAB Limited project leader at the Packaging Centre of Excellence, who was responsible day-to-day for the Radical Waters trial, says: “Based on our findings the ECA technology represents a great alternative to conventional CIP. The savings from an energy, chemical cost and time perspective make this a very viable alternative, especially considering that quality is not compromised.”

Radical Waters reports that it now has over 50 industrial ECA devices supplied to blue chip global beverage companies in their CSD and concentrate bottling plants in 21 countries across six continents. The first installed device at a CSD site has been in daily use for over three years, while the first device sold in the US was in December 2008.

“With a global beverage patent pending, Radical Waters’ ECA technology is able to offer all beverage producers substantial cost savings in terms of water, energy and sanitation time through its shorter rinse cycles and ambient sanitation within customised protocols. Established by Radical Waters, once introduced these protocols should then be strictly applied for maximum benefit and safety,” says the company.

ECA is a water-based technology that mimics the human body’s production of the natural antimicrobial agent, hypochlorous acid, offering a safe and non-hazardous approach to disinfection and sanitation. Since it is all natural, and comprises salt+water+electricity, it is safe to use in most beverage environments. It is also safe to handle, and yet delivers a potent and reliable means for natural decontamination.

Although ECA as a hygiene technology is still relatively new in the commercial environment, it has been in use for some time. This aqua-science was developed in Russia in the 1970s and was originally used in the mining industry. After more than a decade of extensive R&D into ECA, and having introduced the technology into the food and beverage market in early 2004, Radical Waters has become a leading international supplier of customised ECA technology. One such application, which has allowed beverage companies significant savings, is in the substitution of traditional cleaning sanitation chemicals used during conventional CIP procedures.  

“Not only is water an expensive commodity for any beverage plant, but the reliable supply of good quality source water will continue to become progressively uncertain. Beverage producers have thus had to acknowledge their impact on broader scale environmental issues which progressively threaten the scarce water resources that we depend upon,” says Dr Robin Kirkpatrick, Technical Director of Radical Waters Intellectual Property.

“The issue until recently, has been that plants have had limited choices other than chemicals to treat source water. The use of traditional chemicals during CIP not only contradicts the current ‘green’ school of thought, but is also in many instances an ineffective way in which to consistently ensure low microbial counts and subsequent water quality. Furthermore, under the existing chemical regime, beverage processors need to endure lengthier CIP cycles due to the amount of rinse steps necessary to purge out any remaining chemical residues,” he adds.

“On the platform of enhanced energy and water efficiencies, Radical Waters is continuing to expand its presence rapidly in all international markets. This ground-breaking technology is revolutionising attitudes and applications in all industries, and is ideally suited when implementing HACCP where the elimination and constant control of microbial contamination is vital.”

New MD for Radical Waters

Carla Fiford has been appointed managing director of Radical Waters, replacing Alastair Stride who has left the company to pursue other business interests.

Prior to joining Radical Waters in August 2010 as marketing director, Fiford headed a number of businesses, including holding the position of CEO of Magnum Global Funds South Africa, an international hedge fund marketing company which was listed on the JSE. She was also a previous chairman of the Hedge Fund Association of South Africa. In addition, she has worked in executive positions at several blue chip companies, including American Express and Investec Bank.

Source: Radical Waters