At the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics’s Indoor Air Test Center (IATC), a mechanically controlled and ventilated laboratory was used to replicate real-life conditions. Virus particles were tested before, during and after the ionair Air Quality System (AQS) was turned on, with results showing that the technology reduced the concentration of virus particles by between 99.49 and 99.59 percent.
The virus under test was the bacteriophage Phi 6, commonly used in environmental studies as a surrogate for human enveloped viruses, including coronaviruses. ionair’s AQS has already been proven to remove a large number of contaminants from the air. However, the recent study was the first time the system has been tested on an airborne surrogate virus.
The system uses the principle of bipolar ionisation. Ionisers use high voltages to impart charge to air molecules – including potentially droplets containing viruses – which then are attracted to walls or conductor plates.
SSE Enterprise has partnered with Swiss company ionair to deliver ionair’s air purification technology in mechanically-ventilated buildings across the UK and Ireland.
Kostas Papadopoulos, head of smart cities solutions development at SSE Enterprise, said: “As an energy company, we cannot forget the crucial aspect of energy efficiency, especially when current ventilation strategies are known to increase energy consumption. We are pleased that ionair AQS has been proven to reduce energy use by over 20%, as ventilation strategies can be optimised when air quality is improved.”
ionair’s AQS is said to be retrofittable into a building’s existing air handling unit. In addition, the system is said to monitor and control any residual ozone generation, which is a natural byproduct of the ionisation process.