COVID-19 Grants Program: Development of air sanitization unit to inactivate pathogens (e.g. COVID‑19 virus) using catalytic reaction with ozone

Soltan, Jafar | $50,000

Saskatchewan University of Saskatchewan 2020 NSERC Alliance COVID-19 Grant

This applications requests funding to develop an air sanitization unit for inactivation of pathogens such as COVID‑19 virus in air, study of its performance and feasibility of application.

Many pathogens including the COVID‑19 virus can be transmitted through air. Using an air sanitization system can reduce the risk of spread of COVID‑19 in buildings, gathering places, seniors’ residences and public transit systems such as buses where adequate social distancing is difficult to maintain.

The proposed air sanitization unit is based on our active catalysts that enhance the reaction of ozone gas with pollutants in air. We have demonstrated the effectiveness and feasibility of the catalytic process in removing organic pollutants such as toluene and acetone in air. Our catalyst and process can inactivate pathogens such as the COVID‑19 virus in air by inactivating its surface functional groups or even RNA of the virus. In this project, an air sanitization unit will be built, its effectiveness will be evaluated using phages as representative pathogens and feasibility of incorporation of the air sanitization unit in air handling systems will be evaluated.

The academic project team members have research infrastructure, individual track records and complementary expertise in the areas of environmental catalysis, air-handling systems, industrial hygiene, infectious diseases, respirology, and molecular biology of influenza virus. Our industrial partner is a leading engineering and manufacturing company in the air conditioning and handling industry. They have the required research and engineering capacity to implement the findings of this research in their air handling products. Incorporating an air sanitization unit in the air handling system will benefit Canada by enhancing our health, economy and technological advantage.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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