Coca-Cola goes green and clean with SafeWater sanitation

By Jenni Spinner

- Last updated on GMT

SafeWater from SPX uses electrolyzed water to sanitize processing equipment.
SafeWater from SPX uses electrolyzed water to sanitize processing equipment.
The Coca-Cola Co. is harnessing electrolyzed water sanitation technology from SPX to boost safety and sustainability at its plants.

Pete Duessel, director of quality assurance for the company’s Coca-Cola Refreshments division, explained the SafeWater electrolyzed water (ECA) system’s environmentally friendly aspects feed into the company’s “Doing Good, Doing Well” mission to increase overall sustainability.

This is something I feel very passionate about​,” he said.

Duessel added that the Coca-Cola Co., in addition to increasing sustainability wherever it can, is willing to tackle new technologies such as SafeWater.

"I'm very fortunate to work or a company that's let me be a bit of a mad scientist​," he said.

How it works

SafeWater’s ECA cleaning technology combines potable water with a small amount of salt and applies current to create a cleaning solution of sodium hydroxide and a hypochlorous acid sanitizer. The resulting fluids can be used to clean and sanitize processing equipment.

The SafeWater technology, compared to chemical-based sanitization systems, requires no dilution, is available on demand and provides better cleaning results, according to Duessel. He indicated the SafeWater system has proven to be “at least 100 times more effective than typical chlorine systems​.”

Sustainability priority

Because the fluids can be used at ambient temperature, the system reduces energy consumption and minimizes the safety risk, Duessel said. Additionally, the cleaning fluid can be neutralized quickly with organic materials for disposal, which furthers its environmentally friendly aspect.

The Coca-Cola Co. has been up front about making sustainability a top effort. According to Duessel, the company operates the largest hybrid truck fleet in North America; further, the firm has been a driving force in developing alternative resins, with its push behind the PlantBottle bio-based, recyclable container.

The initiative to increase sustainability seems to have considerable consumer support. Approximately 71% of people polled by the Coca-Cola Co. indicated that they consider themselves supporters of sustainability causes.

Return on investment

Duessel indicated that the increased efficiency, and reduced energy and chemical consumption has helped Coca-Cola attain a quick return on investment. Additionally, he said that he is heartened to know the sustainability benefits will likely make a difference at the company long after his retirement.

I’m a soda jerk to the very core​,” he said.

Duessel spoke about the SafeWater technology to a standing-room-only crowd at the recent PROCESS EXPO 2013 event, held in Chicago.

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