Researchers from the University of Alicante Institute of Chemical Processes Engineering have developed a procedure that allows for the individual supply of disinfected air in enclosed spaces for daily use. This system, already patented, consists of an air circulation circuit that a series of individual masks can be connected to.
The technology designed at the UA guarantees the arrival of disinfected air to one or multiple users individually and safely. According to Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Alicante Antonio Marcilla, once the air has been used, it is channelled and disinfected avoiding at all times the mixing of both air currents. This way, potential contact with the air exhaled by other users is prevented, ensuring a risk of contagion that is practically nil. In particular, the system filters the air, disinfects it with virucidal ultraviolet light and carries it to the entrance of the mask for inspiration. The mask has another conduit that collects the air that is exhaled and carries it to another disinfection circuit to evacuate it to the virus-free atmosphere
The goal is for the system to be able to be installed in places where large numbers of people are concentrated, such as classrooms, cinemas, theatres, means of transport, hospitals, offices, banks, etc. It also reduces distance safely completing the space capacity to 100%, minimizing drastically the risk of infection by Covid-19 or other pathogens that are transmitted by air.
At present, there are no individual multi-purpose respirators on the market in common areas. Among other advantages, this innovative system guarantees the arrival of disinfected air to users simultaneously, while the exhaled air is also disinfected. Both air streams are perfectly separated at all times so that mixing is prevented. In this way, the risk of contagion and/or infection by Covid-19 in the air exhaled by other users is minimised, as Antonio Marcilla reported.
The technology can be adapted to existing air circulation infrastructures with a low and simple implementation cost. In this sense, the air channels can be arranged on the ceiling, walls or floor of the enclosure by adapting them to the intended use without impeding visibility or the necessary mobility within it, University of Alicante researcher explained.
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The work team of the Institute of Chemical Process Engineering has successfully developed a prototype at laboratory level and has scaled it to a pilot plant thanks to funding from the Regional Ministry of Innovation, Universities, Science and Digital Society Valencian Government, through the call for urgent aid to finance scientific and innovative solutions directly related to the fight against Covid-19.
In short, Antonio Marcilla pointed out that this is a simple way of guaranteeing a healthy microenvironment in closed spaces of common use in the fight against the current pandemic and other infectious diseases that are transmitted by air in the form of aerosols.