Clean Air Even In The Most Bio-hazardous Environments
Airocide’s PCO (Photocatalytic Oxidation) technology is a filterless method for air purification which cleans the air and eliminates pathogens even on an industrial scale.
What objectives can be achieved by using Airocide?
For preservation of perishables and food safety
The Airocide technology eliminates airborne pathogenic and non-pathogenic microorganisms in vegetative and spore states (bacteria, mold, fungi, viruses and dust mites), allergens, odors and harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air.
For air purification
Deployed in a variety of commercial, government and residential market applications, including the healthcare industry (Airocide is listed as an FDA Class II Medical Device), leading organizations trust our NASA developed technology.
What Drives The Technology?
NASA had a problem, to get to Mars they needed to grow crops in space. Growing crops in a confined spacecraft is toxic as crops emit ethylene gas. NASA found a solution with photo catalytic oxidation (PCO). NASA’s technology has already proven its capabilities in space and in some of the toughest environment on Earth.
The PCO process occurs when titanium dioxide coated rods are irradiated by a photocatalyst, UV light, triggering the formation of hydroxyl radicals. Hydroxyl radicals are ultra reactive breaking apart the molecules of pathogens leaving only wapor vapor and trace amounts of carbon dioxide, The highly reactive radicals oxidize all organic material in their proximity. All of this happens in the unit’s reaction chamber, a closed environment, and the radicals create no danger to anyone near the device.
What is the difference between a filtration system and Airocide?
John Hayman, director of science and technology at Airocide explains, “The unit is a photocatalytic reactor, not a filter.” Unlike a filter it does the following during operation:
– It oxidizes organic material and VOC gases to carbon dioxide and water vapor.
– It kills airborne bacteria, viruses, mold spores and other VOCs.
– Additionally, it removes odors.
The photocatalytic process requires a specific kind of ultraviolet (UV) light and a specific form of titanium dioxide. There are several forms of titanium dioxide. A particular crystalline form of anatase phase (TiO2) is used in these units. Ultraviolet light wavelength is measured in nanometers (nm). TiO2 is activated by UV from 385 nm to 180 nm. The problem with 180 nm is that it also creates ozone. The UV nm light in the photocatalytic reactor is limited to 254 nm to prevent this problem.
Mechanics of the reaction chamber
Hydroxyl radicals (one of the strongest oxidants known) is generated and bound to the surface of the rods in the chamber, rather than becoming a gas. Applying a 3.2 eV (electron volts) charge with UV light causes the TiO2 coated rods to create an electron hole on the hydroxyl radicals. When missing an electron in its outer shell hydroxyl radicals become very unstable (reactive) but keeping them surface-bound means the reaction chamber can control it. Thus, all reactions occur on the surface of the TiO2 coated rods. The radicals are not “free floating”. The only by-products of the TiO2 reaction are carbon dioxide and water vapor.
Mineralization and Elimination of Contaminants
Destruction of mold spores (or bacteria or odorous compounds) uses a process called mineralization. The OH radical is like a Pac-Man. It holds the intermediary hydrocarbons at the surface of the TiO2 coated rods where more hydroxyl radicals are going to form to further attack the spore.
The oxidation process continues until the spore is totally destroyed. The particular form of titanium dioxide utilized is hydrophilic so it is going to attract/pull water to its surface. This means that any water vapor (humidity) in the air is going to be pulled naturally to its surface making catalystic rods self-cleaning.
Hydrophilic nanoparticles complete a system that totally coats a ratchet ring that is about 15 mm long by 4 mm in diameter and hollow to provide more surface area coat. The largest photocatalytic reaction chamber has more than 5 square meters of surface area catalyst.
The rings are randomly packed in the reaction chamber so that the air does not have a straight path through the reaction chamber. With relative humidity (RH), typically measured as parts per million (ppm) – and sometimes parts per trillion (ppt); this modest amount of water vapor means there is no condensation.
There are 46 8-watt ultraviolet lamps in the largest photocatalytic reactor, mostly producing heat. This is the equivalent of less than three 100-watt light bulbs – very low BTU levels but enough to increase the heat through the reactor bed. “Because we limit the speed going through the unit,” explains Hayman, “we actually ‘reduce’ the RH as we go though the reactor bed.”
The ultraviolet lamps are separated by quartz sleeves with coated glass rings packed between them. The quartz is used so that when a user changes the lamps (annually is recommended), they never come in contact with the reactor bed. Changing lamps in the latest photocatalytic reaction chambers requires about five minutes per machine. The photocatalytic reaction chambers are now in their fourth generation of commercial use with several upgrades made in each generation to enhance performance.
How does it work?
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