Timeline of Stabilized Aqueous Ozone (SAO®) from the 1700s to Today

The discovery of aqueous ozone dates back over 200 years ago. Since then, the solution has undergone radical innovation and adoption across industries of many kinds. One of the most monumental moments for aqueous ozone came in 2015, when Steve Hengsperger, CEO of Tersano, was the first to enhance the half-life and cleaning performance of ordinary aqueous ozone through patented, ground-breaking stabilization.

But what happened in the time in between?

Discover and travel through time with Tersano as we explore the exciting history of ozone cleaning and what led to the eventual pinnacle of today: SAO!


In 1785, an experimenting Dutch chemist sparked water with electricity and noticed it gave off an unusual yet familiar smell. This soon became known as the first lab-created aqueous ozone event!


55 years into the future, it’s 1840, and another lab occurrence of aqueous ozone emerges. When sparking water with electricity, several scientists noted familiarity with the scent – it reminded them of the fresh smell of the outdoors proceeding a vicious thunderstorm. This was the first connection between the naturally occurring aqueous ozone in the environment and the simulated aqueous ozone in the lab.


A decade later, scientists began their first exploratory yet practical use of aqueous ozone. The focus of the test was to purify drinking water at a treatment facility. Although the experiments were successful, aqueous ozone wouldn’t go mainstream for another 56 years.


In 1906, for the very first time, engineers designed and constructed the first water purification plant utilizing aqueous ozone in Nice, France. To this day, many water treatment facilities use aqueous ozone to sanitize drinking water.


In the 1940s, aqueous ozone gained traction in the water treatment industry, climbing from 119 installations in 1940 to 1,043 installations in 1977. Then, the numbers jumped again to nearly 2,000 installations by 1985. The US Naval Academy even adopted the solution to clean their swimming pools!


By 1976, the Environmental Protection Agency analyzed aqueous ozone’s disinfecting qualities and approved it as an effective and legitimate antimicrobial.


By 1984, the popularity of aqueous ozone surpassed water treatment facilities and entered the realm of swimming pool sanitization, much like it had in 1940 for the US Naval Academy. At the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, aqueous ozone was even adopted to clean the Olympic swimming pools!


With aqueous ozone garnering popularity amongst various industries, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) analyzed its safety in food-handling environments. By 1996, the FDA ruled that aqueous ozone was a safe solution for food preparation facilities to supplement harsh chemicals. The FDA further approved the use of aqueous ozone for food-contact surfaces in 2001.


In 2001, Steve Hengsperger established Tersano and brought aqueous ozone to the consumer market under the lotus® brand. Tersano’s consumer aqueous ozone products included a sanitizing food bowl and a bottle sprayer for general cleaning. Simultaneously, in 2001, the United States Department of Agriculture approved aqueous ozone in the National Organic Program.


By 2008, the cleaning industry widely adopted aqueous ozone, with many organizations favoring its safety and sustainability over traditional cleaning products. While effective, ordinary aqueous ozone had a limitation: it turned back to water and oxygen after about 30 minutes, rendering the solution ineffective as a cleaner after that time frame. Seven years later, Tersano would bring remarkable innovation to the aqueous ozone timeline with a scientific breakthrough that would resolve this.


In 2015, Hengsperger was the first to crack the code on prolonging the half-life of ordinary aqueous ozone while dramatically enhancing its cleaning performance through stabilization. With Tersano’s patented stabilization, Stabilized Aqueous Ozone lasts as a certified sanitizer for up to 24 hours, which translates to 16 times longer than ordinary aqueous ozone. In addition, Tersano’s Stabilized Aqueous Ozone outperformed regular aqueous ozone in a standardized cleaning test by removing 15% more surface contamination than its counterpart.

2020 and Beyond

Today, critical markets across various industries have adopted Tersano's solution: healthcare, education, food service, transportation, facility maintenance, and more. With sustainability reemerging at the forefront of global conversation, using harsh chemicals for cleaning, sanitizing, and deodorizing is no longer viable. To replace harsh chemicals, the world will turn to industry leaders to guide them in sustainably innovating their cleaning programs. With SAO and continued support from people like you, Tersano believes we truly can Change the Way the World Cleans – for people, the planet, and the future.

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