Concept Design of a High-Voltage Electrostatic Sanitizer to Prevent Spread of COVID-19

Rezaei Zare, Afshin | $50,000

Ontario York University 2020 NSERC Alliance COVID-19 Grant

The proposed research aims to develop a concept design of a high voltage electrostatic sanitizer for capturing and destroying coronavirus particulates that could be traveling in a medium such as air, water, and foods. In the first step, the project will focus on airborne COVID‑19 viral particles, in an effort to prevent airborne transmission of the virus and reduce human exposure. The project scope will be extended to the possibility of killing microorganisms in ionized water using high voltage. A range of different food and bioprocessing industries could benefit from a high voltage water sanitizer, as it has been observed that when cell membrane of different liquid pollutants is exposed to a high voltage electric field, irreversible breakdown of the cell membrane occurs which ultimately leads to their destruction and liquid sanitization.

The device, which is going to be designed conceptually through this research work, would be an electrostatic sanitizer that uses high voltage to ionize air or water molecules containing viral or other microorganism particles and trap them. The current practice for removing airborne particles, whether high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) purifiers or air ionizers, is successful in removing particles of biological origin like bacteria whose diameter are equal to 0.3 µm or larger. However, the COVID‑19 virus is approximately 0.125 µm in diameter, which means that even the most powerful air filters would struggle to remove it from the air. Thus, this project aims at pushing the electrostatic sanitization boundaries towards large size viruses such as COVID‑19 by a novel electromagnetic field analysis and design of electrodes and sanitizing partial discharge chamber.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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