Is it good or bad?

Ozone is indeed a confusing subject. If it is lacking in the upper atmosphere, we say there is an ozone hole, which is cause for concern. We hear the ozone warnings when too much ozone is produced on hot summer days and the ozone levels in cities exceed certain limits. Like carbon dioxide and methane, ozone is a so-called greenhouse gas, which means it contributes to the warming of the Earth’s atmosphere. On the other hand, many experts say ozone is friendlier to the environment than chlorine or chlorine dioxide when it comes to water treatment. So how can a non-expert be expected to make sense of all this?

Quite simple: ozone is good and important when it is more than ten kilometers above our heads – in the stratosphere. Here it acts as a barrier against harmful ultraviolet solar radiation. But if the content is too high in the atmosphere closer to the Earth, it is indeed relevant to the climate – and also toxic.

Bleaching cellulose or disinfecting potable water is not a problem because the ozone is produced specifically for these purposes. In addition, it is used in closed systems, and excess gas is immediately dissipated after application. This is considered environmentally acceptable since all substances created during the application itself or when the remaining ozone is dissipated are safe.

A variety of applications

Besides its application in paper production, ozone technology is also used in a variety of other ways by communities and industry:
  • to treat potable water in waterworks, in combination with ultraviolet technology to decompose drug residues and hormones in effluent by oxidation,
  • to eliminate pollutants in swimming pool water,
  • to eliminate odors from flue gases,
  • to sterilize softdrink bottles,
  • to improve the adhesive and bonding strength of plastic surfaces,
  • to decompose germs and pollutants on fish farms.