As companies, building owners, and property managers scramble to find the latest and greatest technologies available in the market to battle COVID-19, our goal here at VLED is to do that leg work for you. More often than not, these technologies and methods have been used for years, but the diverse applications and efficacy of these systems are brought to light even more now due to the recent global pandemic. Below you will find a summary based on the YouTube video presentation from AtmosAir/Johnson Controls (link in heading).
ASHRAE Definition – “High voltage electrodes create reactive ions in air that react with airborne contaminants, including viruses.”
Objective – Create healthy spaces by removing VOC’s, gases, particles, pathogens, bacteria, and microorganisms that create unhealthy environments and increase health risks for inhabitants of buildings.
Purpose – The purpose of the system is to increase oxygen ions that interact with the viruses. When these ions interact with the virus, they form hydroxyl. Hydroxyls want to naturally return to H2O and through that process they extract hydrogen atoms from the protein spikes on the virus, which inevitably deactivates the virus. (Viruses are not living organisms, therefor claiming it “kills” the virus, would be a false statement.)
Installation, Design, O&M – These systems are installed on the supply side of the duct or AHU discharge plenum. (When possible, try to install a safe distance away from humidifiers to reduce the amount of large droplets accumulating on the system.)
The unit consists of a metal component inside, metal component outside, and a dielectric in the middle. By using the right voltage on the surface 2-3000v (very low amperage), you’re able to form plasma. These systems use a very low amount of energy, where the largest unit consumes about 50watts of energy and can supply roughly a 9000sqft space. Units are controlled via air pressure switch or timer and can be tied into an existing building automation system. If there’s a problem with the system, a fuse will blow, so monitoring is not mandatory for safety concerns.
There are no known issues with EMF / Radiation. Noise levels tend to be much less than normal levels of noise from a HVAC system and systems are generally installed a far enough distance away from occupants anyways.
The BPI tubes should be changed out every 2 years. Other O&M costs are unknown and presumed to be normal wear and tear.
As recommended by ASHRAE and other standards, humidity levels should stay between 40-60%. Levels more than that and systems may be up-sized to accommodate.
References – These systems have been installed in numerous high profile faculties including the Staples Center (L.A Lakers), SpaceX, Hilton, WeWork, VCUHealth, and more.
Testimonial – Dr. Phillip Tierno, Professor of Microbiology and Pathology at NYU School of Medicine.
Oppositions/Objections – ASHRAE Position Document on Filtration and Air Cleaning makes numerous statements and lists considerations when assessing the correct method(s) for filtering and cleaning air. Each facility, to include the geographic location, should be individually considered on a case by case basis, and where suited bipolar ionization technology should be used in conjunction with other layers of redundancy (i.e UV-C lighting, MERV/HEPA filters, etc.)