In-duct UVGI systems for air disinfection against COVID‑19 in buildings

Lee, Bruno | $50,000

Quebec Concordia University 2020 NSERC Alliance COVID-19 Grant

In recent months, more evidence indicates that SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted through the air. Airborne exposure to the virus should be controlled to mitigate such a transmission path. Recent heatwaves illustrated the need for well-conditioned spaces. As deconfinement is on the agenda and temperature is on the rise, ensuring public health at conditioned spaces, particularly at congregate spaces, is a priority. However, operators of most spaces usually could not afford a dedicated maintenance crew. Therefore, any HVAC air disinfection solutions must be self-contained, cost-effective, dependable, and low maintenance.

UVC radiation effectively inactivates airborne microorganisms by breaking bonds in RNA and thus preventing replication of the microorganisms. In-duct ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) systems treat moving air streams in HVAC systems is proposed. Collaborating with an HVAC design company (Les Services Polarbear), this project will address the challenge in designing in-duct UVGI systems: how to ensure the steady and consistent delivery of targeted UVC dose under constantly changing conditions of the in-duct air stream.

The project will conduct a simulation-based experiment to test the impact of temporal and spatial dependent variations in in-duct conditions of the air stream such as temperature, relative humidity, and airflow rate on UVC dose. Les Services Polarbear, will collect the performance data of on-going projects to validate the simulation-based experiment. The validated results will provide a best practice guide for the HVAC industry in retrofitting existing HVAC systems with in-duct UVGI systems. The practical solution helps cut one likely path of transmission and hence increases Canada’s preparedness in facing future infectious outbreak.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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