12th IUVA World Congress in Dubai: Pioneering Innovations in UV Technology and its Expanding Applications

Sunday September 10th 2023 the 12th IUVA World Congress started in Dubai. This is a congress about all aspects related to UV. Experts from all over the world gather to discuss the newest developments in the field.

The first afternoon the IUVA Education Committee organized a workshop about all kinds of UV related aspects, for people who want to get acquainted with UV: types of UV  lamps, how to measure UV radiation, disinfection of air an water, UV in health care applications. I was asked to give a presentation on the application of UV for the removal of contaminants from water. Afterwards there was a discussion about how to align all terms across UV applications and markets. It had become clear that various terms are used throughout the field, and not always the same things are meant by a certain term in another application. It was decided that the IUVA (i.e. the education committee) should write a dictionary, in order to make clear for everyone what is meant by a certain term. This should really advance the application of UV.

Monday Sept. 11th the actual conference started with a board meeting I attended. Afterwards there were sessions about water disinfection and advanced oxidation and reduction processes to remove organic contaminants, including PFAS. Much attention is being paid to the development of UV-LEDs, but also of KrCl excimer lamps, which emit radiation with a wavelength of 222 nm. These latter lamps, like LEDs, don’t contain any mercury, and have interesting properties for application in water treatment. However, like always, there are some drawbacks that have to be taken into account. UV-LEDs are now being used for water disinfection purposes in rural areas. I think in some years it will also become possible to apply them for AOPs, although at the moment their output still is too low for large scale AOP applications. However, there are many interesting developments, worthwhile following.

Tuesday, Sept/ 12th I had to chair the morning session about Advanced Oxidation Processes (AOPs). More and more these processes are being applied in drinking water treatment to remove organic micropollutants. UV often plays an important role in these processes. In the next session the application of AOPs in wastewater treatment was discussed. Apart from UV/H2O2 processes, which are being applied on full scale in the Netherlands, also much attention was paid to UV/chlorine processes, which are applied in some other countries. Furthermore, UV-LEDs are becoming more available, with higher efficiencies and lower wavelengths (UV-C). They are being applied for disinfection of small scale drinking water and wastewater, e.g. in rural areas. However, application of LEDs requires other types of reactor design and validation methods.

Wednesday, Sept 13th I attended a workshop on sustainable development goal 6 of the United Nations on the availability of safe drinking water and sanitation for everyone. This goal should be met in 2030, but there is not much chance that is going to be met. However, application of UV disinfection may make a huge difference for many people. We identified the most important parameters, both technically and socially, which will determine the success of UV disinfection in poor areas. It was decided that the task force of the IUVA should reach out to the WHO to try and improve UV disinfection availability for more people. This may make a huge chance for their lives.