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AIX: LED light technology to purify water on airliners

Improving water quality on board aircraft and managing its storage to avoid excessive weight is the mission of Canadian specialist International Water Guard.

The company, based near Vancouver, produces UV light systems that sterilise water on board business jets, ensuring that the water from the aircraft’s taps is potable.

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This is usually not the case on commercial aircraft, as UV lamps are considered too costly by airlines, International Water Guard said at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg today. Potable water tends to be served from bottles, while water for tea or coffee is filtered and boiled.

UV lamps need to be replaced as their effectiveness deteriorates with usage. While a UV lamp with a 3,000h lifecycle may be considered acceptable for a business jet operating 500h a year, that is not the case for a typical airliner operating 8,000h per annum with much higher water demand, International Water Guard says.

In order to reduce cost, the company has developed a water steriliser that uses an LED rather than a UV light source. The LED system is also more lightweight than the UV system – but the former’s water flow rate is much lower than it is on a UV bulb-based system. A patent is pending for the LED-based system.

In order to avoid excessive carriage of water, the company has developed an electronic unit to measure water usage. Airlines tend to fully fill up water tanks on the ground, without checking how much water is required on flights, International Water Guard says. It adds that operators using the equipment will be able to monitor water usage on specific flights and adjust the volume carried accordingly.

The device has received a supplemental type certificate for installation on Boeing 737NGs, and will be installed on Canadian carrier Air Transat's fleet.

A next step will be to make the equipment available on Airbus A320-family aircraft, International Water Guard says.

For more news, pictures and analysis from AIX 2019, visit our dedicated event page

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