"Low cost air quality device for virus removal from indoor air environment and public transport (EP/V049100/1)"

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Faculty of Engineering


SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease Covid-19, is primarily transmitted through respiratory droplets which linger in enclosed spaces, often exacerbated by HVAC systems. Although research to improve HVAC handling of SARS-CoV-2 is progressing, currently installed HVAC systems cause problems because they recirculate air and also use ineffective virus filters. This project will develop a novel method of eliminating SARS-CoV-2 and future viruses in enclosed spaces using Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO) technology, previously employed to remove organic contaminants and compounds from air streams using the irradiation of titanium dioxide (TiO2) surfaces with ultraviolet (UV) lights causing the disintegration of organic compounds by reactions with oxygen (O) and hydroxyl radicals (OH). The O and OH reactions can also destroy viruses.

Using the established results from previous R&D, the project will develop a novel TiO2 coated copper fibre mop system, which will both act as a fan and provide the essential very large surface area for UV irradiation. Research will include optimizing UV frequencies, intensity, and improvement on photocatalytic oxidation by doping of TiO2 with metals, followed by in vitro studies investigating the effects on SARS-CoV-2, and other endemic coronaviruses. The rotating fibre fan, illuminated by a high intensity UV, allows viruses to be eliminated in an efficient, nearly silent system, adaptable for small or larger applications.

Engineering will include optimization of two demonstrators: a low-profile wall unit and free- standing floor unit. These low cost, efficient systems will be demonstrated to industry to allow rapid adoption for buildings and public transport systems.


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