What is Algae?
Algae is an aquatic plant that is predominantly unicellular and contains chlorophyll, but does not have leaves, stems or roots. Water that is stagnant, or having a high temperature or containing a high concentration of nutrients, is a viable environment for exponential algae growth. Algae is known to cause perennial problems in a range of different business areas including fouling of pleasure boats, shipping, ponds, lakes, cooling towers and heating systems. The presence of algae causes a significant negative impact, including harm to fish, damage to boats, and damage to the environment in addition to its unsightly appearance.
It is generally accepted there exist over a million species of algae in the world, and according to some estimates, considerably more.
What is Ultrasound?
Sound with frequencies lying above the audible range of humans, typically over 20,000 Hertz (20 kHz), is termed ultrasound. Sounds at higher frequencies above 100 MHz are referred to as hypersonic, however, frequencies below the human audible frequency range are called infrasound. Humans can hear acoustic sounds within the audible range of 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, depending on the age of the individual.
The speed of sound in different media are:
- 331 metres per second in air.
- 1496 metres per second in water, which is 4.5 times faster than in air.
- 5000 metres per second in steel, which is 3.3 times faster than in water.
How and why does ultrasound technology dismantle algae?
The transducer within the Efficient Sonics ultrasonic speaker emits an ultrasonic wave into the water, which upon reaching the centre of the cell causes excessive pressure to build up in the vacuole. Once the cell pressure has exceeded a critical threshold it ruptures and destroys the cell vacuole causing the algae to die.
Biofilm is dispersed by the repeated mechanical shock action of the ultrasound wave which destroys the habitat preventing the growth of harmful bacteria such as e-coli or legionella.
The ultrasonic pulses used in the water are completely harmless to humans, animals, fish and aquatic plants.
Why are digital ultrasonic systems now used instead of analogue devices?
Ultrasonic systems have significantly advanced in their technological capabilities in recent years. The key benefits of modern ultrasonic technology are listed below to help explain why Efficient Sonics digital ultrasonic technology is more reliable, effective and convenient than previous analogue systems.
Advantages of digital ultrasonic technology compared to analogue systems include:
- A constant, non-fluctuating signal strength is emitted, which offers more reliability than older technology
- Ease of generating different frequencies, therefore offering more flexibility than analogue designs
- Lower power consumption, so energy savings can be made
- Improved efficiency
- Less susceptible to interference
- More effective at removing pathogens and biofilm, so more effective at tackling large scale algae build up
Why are Efficient Sonics products ‘Smart’?
Efficient Sonics products are the only units on the market to offer the unique ‘Smart Tune’ technology, which self-regulates the output signal to ensure that the optimum frequency is always used. Each environment has physical properties which are constantly changing, such as water density and temperature, meaning that a different 'optimal frequency' is required for different applications, in different locations and at different times of the day.
The 'Smart Tune' technology takes these factors into account by automatically tuning the various frequency waves emitted to match the environment, and then re-calibrates itself every 6 hours.
Can ultrasonic devices remain in the water during the winter time and at times of poor weather conditions?
Efficient Sonics products can remain in use throughout winter, as they are resistant to frost and ice.
During colder periods of the year such as over winter, many plants do stop growing. However, leaving the ultrasonic device running during this period would act as a preventative measure to stop algae growth in the spring and summer.
Why is my Efficient Sonics device making a noise?
When swimming it is possible that you might hear a faint clicking sound, which may become a louder sound if your head is submersed under water. The ultrasonic device itself cannot be heard, as the frequency is too high for humans to hear, so any noises heard are likely to be because of interference of the sound waves with each other. Whilst this noise is harmless, it is recommended that you turn the ultrasonic device off when swimming.
How does the ultrasonic device remove pathogens (dangerous germs)?
Pathogens are significantly reduced, because the ultrasonic device eliminates almost all of the biofilm layer, which is often where pathogens, such as e-coli or legionella thrive.
Biofilm is a slimy deposit of biological material and forms the essential breeding ground for pathogenic bacteria and fungi. Therefore removing the biofilm layer helps to prevent the build up of many pathogens.
Whilst pathogens may not be killed directly by the ultrasound device, they would be indirectly killed as the destruction of the biofilm layer prevents them from surviving.
How long should I keep my Efficient Sonics device operating for?
To ensure the most effective algae prevention and remediation, the Efficient Sonics ultrasonic device should be used day and night and throughout the various seasons.
The electrical energy consumption is comparable to an energy-saving lamp, so the costs of leaving the device running for long periods of time are minimal. These costs are significantly lower than those experienced with older analogue ultrasonic devices.
Are animals, humans or plants affected by ultrasonic technology?
No, Efficient Sonics products do not harm humans, plants or animals, and can improve the health of certain creatures, such as fish by reducing parasites.
Other wildlife creatures are also harmed by the presence of algae, since the levels of oxygen in the water are reduced, significantly altering its pH. Using an Efficient Sonics device maintains oxygen levels in ponds by preventing algae growth and ensures the water is clear and of a high quality.
Should I purchase a specific model of ultrasonic system based on the application?
Yes, it is important that your ultrasound device matches the particular application and is powerful enough for the size of your pond or the algae infected area.
Efficient Sonics devices emit particular frequencies and patterns tailored to the application, ensuring optimum effectiveness. Different models exist to enable you to buy the one most suitable and effective in deployment.
How can I check if the device is working?
Because ultrasound waves are not audible to humans, Efficient Sonics provide a portable Ultrasonic Meter for purchase, which can be used to check the ultrasonic signal intensity in both air and water. This meter can also be used to verify correct system operation and whether the transducers are installed optimally.
Also, various lights are displayed on the control unit to enable you to see if the device is activated or not. When the green light is displayed it means that power is supplied and that the functional controls are all working properly.
An amber light demonstrates that the signal for the transducer is functioning properly for that particular channel. During operation, it will flash in sequence with the signal output for the channel, at that time.
A red light indicates an error condition which can sometimes be cleared by cycling the power to the unit and waiting for at least 15 seconds whilst the power is off. If this fails to resolve the problem, please contact us.
In use, both the control box and the power supply will get warm to the touch, especially in hot weather.
Is any maintenance required for Efficient Sonics devices?
All Efficient Sonics devices are 'fit and forget' units, requiring low maintenance.
If the transducer (ultrasonic speaker) has not been operated for a significant period of time in water, then the front face of the transducer should be cleaned using vinegar if it has a layer of fouling on it.
How do I recognise dead algae?
A few days after installing an Efficient Sonics device in your pond or lake, you should notice the following:
If you have floating algae (small particles of algae floating all around the water which colour the water green), you should notice that after 2 to 7 days the water looks greener than before. You might think there are now more algae plants in the water than prior to using the ultrasound treatment, and you may question if your investment was worthwhile. However, this is an indicator that the ultrasound has begun to kill the algae. After dying, the green algae discolour to a bright green or become pale.
The dead algae start to rot and produce a gas which causes them to float to the surface of the water.
After a few days of ultrasonification, the water will probably look greener than before because all of the algae are now floating closer to the water surface. This is the best time to fish out or filter the dead algae from the water. If not removed, the dead algae eventually stop releasing gas and sink to the bottom where they decompose further and turn into mud. This process can take up to 10 months, depending on the environment.
Dead algae release nutrition back into the water, which could easily cause a new bloom to form in the water at a later stage due to the remaining living algae.
Also, strong water movement can cause the dead algae to disperse throughout the entire body of water and not sink to the bottom, as they are being dragged around in the water current. In this case the water will slowly turn from green into brown.
To reduce the effect of these problems, a good water filtration system is recommended.
If you have string filamentous algae (long forms of algae attached to the bottom or sides of the pond), you will notice after a period of 2 to 8 weeks that the algae slowly decompose. When dead, the algae turn brown or colourless. While the algae is dying it rots slowly and releases fouling gases which causes it to float to the surface. Some algae may remain attached to the bottom in small areas, but the majority of the algae should detach and float around the surface. This is the best time to remove the dead algae from the water.
String algae are harder to kill and it may take up to 8 or even 12 weeks before the all of the algae are completely dead. Also, dead algae will release nutrition back into the water upon decomposition, which could cause a new algae bloom.
Ultrasound kills the algae, but is not able to get rid of the dead plants. Rather, they have to rot in a natural way, which can take many months depending on the environment, or else they can be filtered or fished out of the water.
A simple method of checking for dead algae is to use the 'bottle test' outlined below.
Remove a sample of water from your pond into a plastic bottle (glass is not ideal as the algae likes to stick to its surface). Place the extracted water sample in an undisturbed and cool environment (i.e. not directly in sunlight or in proximity to heating) for a period of at least 24 hours. Natural convection should continually agitate the water in the bottle and any live algae particles should remain suspended throughout the entire water body.
After 24 hours, any algae that have sunk to the bottom of the bottle are dead and the clarity of the remaining water in the bottle can be used as an indication of the effectiveness of the ultrasonic system.
Is it possible to extend the cable?
Efficient Sonics offer standard cable extension accessories in lengths of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 metres.
However, we recommend it is best to order a speaker with a suitable length cable from the outset. This will cost less than purchasing a speaker and an extension cable, however, delivery time will be slightly longer.
Any attempt to extend the cable by other means would invalidate the warranty.
Do the ultrasonic devices influence the pH value of water?
Yes, the presence of algae reduces oxygen levels in the water, which in turn affects acidity or basicity of the solution as indicated by its pH.
The Efficient Sonics device kills the algae and so the oxygen and pH of the water return to a healthier level.
Can the Efficient Sonics ultrasound generator unit be mounted outside?
Yes, the ultrasound generator unit and mains power supply are resistant to water and ultraviolet light.
The ultrasound generator has ingress protection to IP 66, whilst the power supply is IP 67 and both can therefore be safely installed outdoors.
For electrical safety, a good electrical earth connection must be used for all installations.
WHAT IS THE EFFICIENT SONICS SMART TUNE TECHNOLOGY
Efficient Sonics is the only company on the market who offer Smart Tune Technology in all of our products.
This unique feature self-regulates the system to ensure that only optimal frequencies are ever emitted from the transducer.
At a pre-set regular interval which can be adjusted to your needs, the ultrasonic generator automatically scans the nominal frequencies to be output and tunes the system to select the frequency in the range with the highest energy activity.
By doing so, the system is automatically able to compensate for physical changes in the working environment, such as temperature and density, and is consequently more effective than competitor products.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING EFFICIENT SONICS PRODUCTS
- Scientifically proven technology. There are many studies assessing ultrasound technology in various different applications, and they provide overwhelming support for ultrasonic systems being unrivalled solutions for the prevention and removal of algae, bio-film, marine fouling and lime-scale.
- Guaranteed reliability. We consider our range of products to be the most reliable on the market, and to offer you full peace of mind each product comes with a 12 months warranty.
- Chemical free. The Efficient Sonics product range offers an alternative to using environmentally damaging chemicals when remediating and preventing the presence of algae, bio-film, marine fouling and lime-scale.
- Improved water quality. Our ultrasonic devices will remove algae or prevent algae growth, which subsequently re-oxygenates the water and increases the pH levels.
- Improved health for wildlife. The signal frequencies and intensities used by Efficient Sonics products are specifically targeted at the fouling species and designed to have a minimal effect on other wildlife present. Thus helping to assist a pond, for example, in becoming a more hospitable ecosystem by the removal of algae.
- No Maintenance required. The Efficient Sonics range of products are 'fit and forget', which ensures that you do not have to endure the hassle of removing or altering the device once installed.
- Highly effective. Our Smart Tune technology ensures that an optimal range of ultrasound frequencies are always emitted, by automatically tuning the system to match its working environment at assigned intervals. This increases the effectiveness of your Efficient Sonics device to ensure peak performance at all times.
- Helps remove barriers for businesses. By preventing and eliminating fouling species in an environmentally friendly, efficient and cost effective way Efficient Sonics can help industries, such as fish farms and shipping to reduce pollution and operating costs.
- Improves boat and ship performance. The innovative ultrasound technology offered by Efficient Sonics can effectively prevent and remediate marine fouling from the hull and drives, which increases lubricity and helps to increase engine performance.
- Dual action technology that both prevents and eradicates fouling species. Unlike chemical alternatives, our pioneering dual-action products continuously treat the existing fouling and prevent a subsequent build-up.