Prevent Zebra Mussel Infestation

Megapulse, Old Dominion University (ODU), and Acres International have joined in a technology test program focusing on the use of ‘pulse power electric field.’ This technology is being investigated as a control mechanism to prevent zebra mussel infestation in pipes carrying cooling water at a power plant. A high voltage (HV) pulse power generator, manufactured by Megapulse, was recently delivered to ODU for a series of experiments to validate the efficacy of pulse power and the Megapulse technology. The HV pulse power generator is designed to destroy or incapacitate the zebra larvae (veliger) in service water pipes. The pulse power generator utilizes two parallel metal grids positioned at the intake of the water pipe.

The grids, of ODU design, are subjected to a series of 5µsec, 20 kv pulses of opposite polarity and rates up to 100 pps. The pulsing stresses the target organism and, it is assumed, could encourage the ion exchange to/from the organism to cause cell death.

Doctoral candidate Mr. Amu Abou Ghazala will conduct the experiments at ODU under the supervision of Dr. K. Schoenbach. Field trials will follow the lab tests at a power plant in Louisiana.

From prior experiments, Dr Schoenbach and his team have established that the “…pulsed electric field technology is a strong contender to existing biofouling prevention methods.”

The HV pulse power generator (PPG) uses the proprietary and patented Megapulse high-power modulator (megatron) that was developed and implemented in the transmitters that form the national Loran-C radionavigation and position fixing system. Characteristics of the modulator are its extreme reliability, robustness, and efficiency. The PPG design combines the soft switching and magnetic compression techniques of the earlier modulator. Importantly, the PPG retains those characteristics as well as tolerance to fault conditions and the ability to work into wide-ranging load impedances. Follow-on design activities are focused on increasing the output of the modulator, revising the pulse forming network and simplifying the control circuit.