In essence what I'm asking is if the applications of Electrochemically activated water (ECA water) as a bactericidal-disinfectant is real and profitable (especially this last part). The principle at first seems very dull just take salt water through an electrolysis process and you get anolytes and catholytes, with disinfectant proprieties. Why is that only now is it viable?

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    $\begingroup$ I've never heard of this, but it sounds fishy. $\endgroup$
    – jonsca
    Dec 1 '12 at 15:19

Far from 'only now' becoming viable, the production of disinfectant from electrolysis of salt water (brine) is not only 'real' it is how bleach sold on supermarket shelves is produced! Industrially, this is called the 'chor-alkali process' and is well established for over 100 years. Both chlorine and sodium hypochlorite are manufactured industrially by electrolysis of brine. Where gaseous chlorine presents a significant hazard however, liquid sodium hypochlorite is offered as an alternative, however it has a limited shelf-life and degrades rapidly with temperature. Recent innovations in terms of design and manufacture of ion-exchange membranes has opened up new possibilities for small-scale on-site production of socium hypochlorite which is especially useful for remote communities.

On the question of economic 'viability' or profitability, like any question of economics, it depends upon the available technology and specific circumstances. For example, large power stations typically have the need to disinfect huge volumes of water which passes through their cooling towers. Since they literally 'generate electricity at cost', it is often more economic for such power stations to produce disinfectant on-site using eletrolysis than to truck in volumes of bleach manufactured at a chemical plant. Of course, this does not necessarily mean its 'economically viable' for you to make your own bleach at home right now, although this may change in the future.

The on-site generation of hypochlorite for disinfection may not only be useful for cooling towers on power stations but also for treating wastewater on board ships and in in remote locations. Since the chemical is produced 'on demand', there is no need for the extra waste created by packaging, shipping and storage of large volumes of hazardous chemicals.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your answer. What I intended initially was not to question the usefulness and availability of standard products like bleach. The links are pretty clear. Well, in fact I didn't even know that bleach was a product of such process so my question was kinda vague. What I am interested about is on the fringe applications of ECA like for example: vbinstitute.org/technologies First that institute sounds fishy and I've seen that some "scientific" papers were not published in real journals but magazines. bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=110884.0 $\endgroup$
    – magus
    Dec 4 '12 at 15:02

The wikipedia page says all:

"The electrolysis of such salt solutions produces a solution of sodium hypochlorite, which is the most common ingredient in store-bought household bleach. The resulting water is a known surfactant (soap) and sanitizer."

That is: the effect of electrolysis is equivalent to adding a (very) small amount of bleach. There is not real reason to prefer this energy-consuming process to the tradionat bleach.


As described by others before, sodium hypochlorite ($\ce{NaOCl}$) is a strong disinfectant.

The technology for the production is established:

  1. electrolysis of brine ($\ce{NaCl}$) to yield chlorine ($\ce{Cl2}$)
  2. disproportionation of $\ce{Cl2}$ under alkaline conditions: $\ce{Cl2 +2 OH- -> OCl- + Cl- + H2O}$

If you want halogen-free disinfection of water without bleach, there are two options:

  • ozone treatment
  • uv irradiation

Both technologies are widely used too and have a solid scientific background as well.

And you can even go "low-tech" to save lifes: A successful initiative of the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Sciences and Technology, SODIS (Solar Water Disinfection), uses sunlight and PET bottles to kill microbes and produce drinkable water in developing regions of the world.

And then, you can rely on snake oil technology.


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