U.S. General Services Administration

Catalyst-Based Non-Chemical Water Treatment


Courtesy of Courtesy of U.S. General Services Administration

Catalyst-Based Device Reduces Calcite Buildup, Requires Minimal Maintenance

According to the US Geological Survey, more than 85 percent of the United States has hard water.1 In plumbing, hard water leaves calcite deposits that restrict water flow by occluding pipes. In water heaters, calcite coats heating elements, causing them to overheat and eventually fail. Standard approaches to calcite mitigation rely on chemicals, which must be replenished frequently, or ultra-fine-membrane filtering, which uses large amounts of water and energy. GSA’s Green Proving Ground (GPG) program commissioned Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to assess the effectiveness of a catalytic insert that alters the chemistry of hard water to prevent calcite buildup. Researchers assessing the technology at the Frank E. Moss Federal Courthouse in Salt Lake City, Utah, found that catalystbased non-chemical water treatment (NCWT) dramatically reduced calcite buildup and had immediate payback when compared to a chemical (salt-based) system. Payback at other locations will depend on the ongoing remediation costs of calcite buildup. Catalyst-based NCWT should be considered for deployment in any heating system that is subject to calcification, including hydronic heating systems and boilers, condensing boilers, and gas and electric water heaters.

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