Ozone is a gas that forms naturally during thunderstorms when lightning converts normal oxygen molecules (O2) into ozone (O3). The fresh, sweet smell in the air after a storm is the smell of ozone. The unstable ozone molecule reacts rapidly with most substances and is an extremely strong natural oxidant.
Ozone can be commercially produced by exposing air to ultraviolet light. However, the most common method of generating ozone is passing air through an electrical discharge. Because ozone has strong oxidizing properties, its production requires corrosion-resistant equipment.
Ozone is used in water filtration and purification. Because it is such an effective oxidant, it kills viruses, bacteria, mold, mildew, fungus and germs. Passing ozone through water achieves high purification rates without any chemical residue. Oxygen is the only by-product. Typical applications incude:
- Purifying standing ground water in third-world countries
- Conditioning water for poultry and livestock
- Purifying water in the bottled water industry
- Filtering and purifying water for process applications