REUTERS/Tim Wimborne
Hard Science

This Tech Cleans Smells, Pollen, and Viruses From the Air Using Light

We have a new way to clean our air of viruses.

June JavelosaMarch 24th 2016
New Air-Cleaning System

While most air-cleaning systems need continuous maintenance, and clean the air by burning or freezing pollution, the GPAO system doesn’t need filters, is energy efficient, and needs minimal maintenance. In fact, it takes its cue from the atmosphere’s natural ability to lean itself.

“Nature cleans air in a process involving ozone, sunlight, and rain. Except for the rain, GPAO does the very same thing, but speeded up by a factor of a hundred thousand,” says Matthew Johnson, a professor of environmental chemistry at the University of Copenhagen who invented the system.

The findings from this study have recently been published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

GPAO
Image Credit: American Chemical Society
Image Credit: American Chemical Society

GPAO works by mixing polluted gas with ozone under flourescent lamps, thus allowing the free radicals to form. These free radicals then attack pollution and form sticky residue that clump together.

“Anyone who has ever tried dusting a computer screen knows how well dust sticks to a charged surface. This effect means that we don’t need traditional filters, giving our system an advantage in working with large dilute airstreams,” says Johnson.

In addition, the system can also easily remove toxic fumes from fiberglass production and even eliminate smells and odors; as well as pollen, spores and viruses.

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