As the coronavirus pandemic continues on across the globe, and with no vaccine yet available, businesses are having to consider new ways to make their buildings COVID-secure so that they can ensure a safe and healthy environment for customers and employees.
One of the safety measures that is beginning to gain more traction in recent months is the inclusion of Bi-Polar Ionization (BPI) in HVAC systems.
Whilst Bi-Polar Ionization is not new – it has been used in large public buildings and businesses all over Europe since the 1970s – larger companies in the US and beyond (including Google Headquarters) have now embraced the technology.
Bi-Polar Ionization is a process that involves splitting molecules in the air into positive and negatively charged ions.
These ions are attracted to pollutants in the air like a magnet, and on contact chemically disrupt them and instantly render them harmless. These pollutants include viruses, bacteria, mould, allergens and VOCs, and the process is able to gather up to 99% of these in order to clean the air.
Once an ion comes into contact with one of these contaminants, the following process occurs:
Extensive testing has been carried out all over the world into the efficacy of BPI in preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Whilst it is already understood that clean air is important in protecting us against illnesses, allergies and bacteria, these tests look deeper into how the virus is transmitted, and thus how BPI can be effective in the fight against the spread.
It is known that COVID-19 is primarily spread via respiratory droplets, meaning the tiny droplets that are emitted when an infected person coughs, sneezes or even talks. But there is mounting evidence that the virus may be just as easily spread via aerosols and surface contact.
Aerosols are tiny particles expelled during coughs and sneezes, that are small enough to hang in the air after expulsion, effectively making the virus airborne. Meanwhile, viral particles on surfaces can lead to transmission when someone touches them and then touches their face.
Testing carried out by Tayra in Spain, backed by the Spanish Ministry of Defence Biological Laboratory, has concluded that plasma air ionization is effective in the reduction of MS2 Bacteriophage, a surrogate for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), in indoor environments.
The testing was conducted in a Madrid hotel, in simulated ICU hospital rooms, and focused on testing the effectiveness of the technology against aerosolised virus particles. There was also a laboratory analysis carried out in a nearby operations centre of the Ministry of Defence from May 4th to May 14th.
A Bi-Polar plasma ionizer was installed within the air supply unit, at the entrance of the test space, after which Bacteriophage MS2 was nebulised into the rooms.
In the two stages of the test, the air supply was ionized using the BPI device for the first phase, and the air was left untreated for the second.
Manikins (a kind of specialised medical mannequin) were placed in the room and equipped with filters to measure the amount of Bacteriophage that would be breathed in with and without ionization, whilst swabs were taken from the walls and surfaces for further analysis.
Results concluded that there was a 99% reduction in the volume of bacteria in the air within just 10 minutes when the air ionizer was in use. Swabs and tests of the manikins showed a reduction of 0.70-0.85 log pfu/cm2, equivalent to an 80% reduction in surface MS2 Bacteriophage after 10 minutes between the test with and without ionization.
Whilst Airius has not yet completed coronavirus testing with regards to their PureAir series, extensive testing has been completed on the company’s famous Photohydroionisation (PHI) technology.
In independent testing from Kansas State University, the PHI Cell was found to efficiently remove 99% of the following from the air:
Discussing the technology with regards to the coronavirus, Dr. Marsden of Kansas State University commented: “This virus apparently is similar to other viruses that we previously tested. There is every reason to believe that the Airius PureAir technology would be effective in reduction of COVID-19.”
As mentioned above, Bi-Polar Ionization has long been used in Europe in large buildings and businesses such as medical facilities, schools and restaurants.
As testing has begun to prove the efficacy of BPI in rending COVID-19 harmless, businesses around the world are beginning to latch onto this technology as a way to make their environments safe and healthy.
It is also not only dangerous pollutants that these units are able to neutralise either.
Ions produced during Bi-Polar Ionization have also proven to work against things like mould, allergens such as pollen and even odours.
The Airius PureAir Plus combines this technology with an efficient fan that quickly disperses the cleansing ions throughout the surrounding space, ensuring fast and complete protection against all airborne contaminants.
The Airius PureAir Plus can be used to protect 24/7 without the dangerous ozone or formaldehyde by-products that are commonly found in other forms of air purification, particularly those which use high levels of UV radiation.
For those trying to ensure the safety of their workplaces throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, this purifier offers the next level in air purification. Please visit www.airius.co.uk or call us on 01202 554 200 to find out more.