Why Ultrapure Water Matters: Key Applications and Industries

Aug 30, 2023
 by Seven Seas News Team

Ultrapure water plays a crucial role in the microelectronics industry, where it's used for safely cleaning sensitive parts during manufacture.

Ultrapure water plays an essential role in preventing contamination in a variety of applications and processes

Ultrapure water is extremely high-quality water that has undergone rigorous treatment to remove impurities and contaminants, surpassing the standards for drinking water. Ultrapure water plays an important role in industries where even trace amounts of impurities could negatively impact equipment, processes, and products.

Due to the high level of purification, ultrapure water has extremely low concentrations of ions, dissolved solids, organic matter, and microorganisms. Ultrapure water’s lack of minerals and impurities gives it a neutral pH and makes it a poor conductor of electricity. Due to its high purity, ultrapure water tends to be very transparent and colorless, and it is also tasteless and odorless.

How Is Ultrapure Water Produced?

To meet the stringent purity standards required, the production of ultrapure water involves advanced purification technologies such as reverse osmosis, deionization, and other filtration methods to achieve the desired level of purity, which can vary according to an application’s requirements.

At the heart of ultrapure water production is reverse osmosis, a technique that utilizes a semipermeable membrane to eliminate a broad spectrum of impurities, contaminants, and particles from the water source. Following this, deionization is implemented to further eliminate ions and minerals that could compromise the water’s purity. This meticulous process plays a pivotal role in attaining the stringent quality standards required, ensuring that the resulting water is nearly devoid of any impurities. Additionally, various filtration mechanisms, each designed to target specific contaminants, are integrated into the process. These multifaceted filtration steps contribute to the comprehensive purification process, which can be tailored to cater to the unique demands of each application, ultimately producing ultrapure water that adheres to the highest industry standards.

Key Applications for Ultrapure Water

Ultrapure water is essential in certain industries and processes where the presence of even low levels of contaminants can have dire consequences. Some applications and industries where ultrapure water is essential to operations include:

  • Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology Industries, and R&D: Ultrapure water plays a crucial role in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. It is widely used in the production of medications, cosmetics, and personal care products, as well as in sterile solutions. It is used to clean laboratory equipment to prevent pharmaceutical drugs from becoming contaminated during the manufacturing process. Ultrapure water is also extensively used in research and development laboratories to prepare reagents, media, and solutions used when conducting tests and experiments.
  • Cleaning and Sterilization of Medical Equipment: Ultrapure water is essential for cleaning and sterilizing medical equipment, devices, and surgical instruments to prevent contamination and possible infection. It is used in a wide range of medical procedures, including lab tests, wound cleaning, and kidney dialysis.
  • Food and Beverage Industry: The F&B industry uses ultrapure water for applications that require high water quality, including the production of baby formula, dairy products, soft drinks, and beer, where even trace amounts of contaminants could compromise the quality and safety of the product.
  • Semiconductor Manufacturing and Electronics: Ultrapure water is used for cleaning and rinsing semiconductors and printed circuit boards during the manufacturing process to remove particles and contaminants that could compromise performance. It is also used to clean circuit boards during the assembly of electronic and microelectronic devices to remove residues without contaminating sensitive components.
  • Chemical Industry: Ultrapure water is used in chemical synthesis, production, and quality control to prevent reactions with impurities and to maintain accurate results in analytical testing.
  • Power Plants: In power plants, ultrapure water is used in steam generation, and it also plays a role in cooling systems and as feedwater for high-pressure boilers. The lack of minerals in ultrapure water prevents scaling and corrosion in boilers and turbines, so it increases efficiency, reduces downtime, and extends the lifespan of expensive equipment.

An Ultrapure Water Case Study

The Virgin Island Water & Power Authority needed a reliable and inexpensive source of ultrapure water to be used primarily for boiler feed water and scrubbers at the Randolph Harley E. Power Plant in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Seven Seas Water Group installed a state-of-the-art ultrapure water treatment plant at the facility. The treatment process uses potable water generated by Seven Seas’ seawater desalination plant and treats it further with brackish water reverse osmosis (BWRO) and electrodeionization (EDI) processes to produce 550,000 GPD of ultrapure water.

Advanced water treatment technologies are required to produce ultrapure water, and while an ultrapure water treatment plant can be costly to install, it doesn’t have to be. With Seven Seas’ Water-as-a-Service® partnerships, customers get access to the plant they need without upfront capital costs.

According to the regional operations manager for Seven Seas Water Group, USVI:

“State-of-the-art technology was required to meet WAPA’s critical power generation demands and EPA mandates. We had an existing public-private partnership in place with the Authority, so we quickly purchased the equipment required, built the plant and now we maintain operations. Because we invested the capital to provide the solution, it was AFFORDABLE for our client.”

Contact Seven Seas to learn more about our water treatment technologies and how our Water-as-a-Service® partnerships can help you get the water you need without any upfront investment in expensive water infrastructure.

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