Ultraviolet germicidal irradiance (UVGI) – photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) for COVID‑19 risk mitigation: a hybrid technique to develop effective antiviral air purification systems

Zhong, Lexuan | $50,000

Alberta University of Alberta 2020 NSERC Alliance COVID-19 Grant

This research program brings together experts from the University of Alberta and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) industry to develop advanced in-duct antiviral air purifier systems in buildings. Though the ultraviolet germicidal irradiance (UVGI) has been known for a long time, a lack of conclusive testing data makes it hard to demonstrate the effectiveness of UVGI. In addition, the high airflow for in-duct UVGI equipment employed in air-handling units can lead to the low UV dose and thus low efficiency. This research addresses how the UVGI efficiency on virus inactivation could be maximized in conjugation with photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) technology that provides hydroxyl radicals. This research program will examine: 1) feasibility of the hybrid UVGI-PCO technologies for virus inactivation; 2) design criteria for an optimal antiviral air purifier for efficient virus inactivation; and 3) effectiveness of antiviral air purifier system on the cross-infection reduction. This research directly aligns with the visions of the fund, in particular, to design advanced COVID-19-relevant equipment to mitigate the COVID‑19 virus spread in buildings. The results have local, national and international applicability. Therefore, this work will provide essential engineering measures to address the COVID‑19 emergency while having implications to treat and mitigate future health crises.

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