The bubble column evaporator: Upscaling towards a commercial prototype

Project goal

This project sought to build on a previous project that built a lab scale version of a bubble column evaporator that could sterilise piggery effluent to trial a commercial scale prototype for field testing.

Project summary

A prototype was developed that can fix into a box trailer and be powered through generator exhaust like that from a biogas powered generator (preferred), from hot air pumps or solar. The prototype was deployed in both laboratory and a university field test for testing. The results collected have demonstrated promising potential for the unit to not only sterilise effluent but also produce high quality distilled water.

Cost benefit analysis based on current experimental data identified that the unit needs to be further scaled up to achieve commercial viability with an estimated capacity of 50-200L (compared to the 12L prototype developed in this project).

The current prototype with biogas integration will produce approximately 1 ML a year of sterilised water and 6.5KL a year of pure condensed water. .

Value for producers:

  • Potential opportunity to provide safer sterilised water for reuse on farm without an increase in energy costs.
  • This technology has potential to provide affordable and technically simple water treatment equipment for pig farms to reduce costs and improve health outcomes


  • That a commercial partner be sought to continue to develop the concept to commercial scale
  • Ultimately look to partner to produce high capacity units that can be utilised on farms


Research enquiries