Enterprise Europe Network

System for breathing COVID-19-free air in indoor common areas

Country of origin:
Country: 
SPAIN
Opportunity:
External Id: 
TOES20210112001
Published
12/01/2021
Last update
13/01/2021
Expiration date
14/01/2022

Keywords

Partner keyword: 
Apparatus Engineering
Filtration and Membrane Processes
Protection against intoxication
Indoor Air Pollution/Treatment
Air filters and air purification and monitoring equipment
Other research and experimental development on natural sciences and engineering
Tertiary education
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Summary

Summary: 
A Spanish university has developed a system that allows to multiple users the simultaneous and individual supply of disinfected air in closed spaces of common use. This system, which can be easily installed in any place, is very economical and allows a safety distance among the audience. Companies interested in acquiring this system for commercial exploitation through patent license agreement are sought.

Description

Description: 

In this sense, inhalation or contact with the air exhaled by other users cannot be avoided, as they all breathe the same air in the room, which means a high risk of contagion for those diseases that are transmitted through the air in the form of aerosols.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a radical change in society. Health measures have had to be taken to reduce or prevent the spread of the virus, leading changes in customs and habits, in the economy and in social life.

A Spanish reasearch group has proposed a solution that guarantees the intake of disinfected air to one or multiple users in a safe and individual way. Once the air has been used, it is channeled and disinfected, avoiding at all times the mixing of both air currents. In this simple way, possible contact with the air exhaled by other users is prevented, thus ensuring a practically null risk of contagion and/or infection.

The system (Figure 1) consists of an air circulation circuit where a series of individual masks can be connected (see Figure 1). More, specifically, the technology consists of:
- an air collector with a simple filtering system to prevent the entry of coarse particles and insects;
- a compressor or blower that allows the air to circulate through the entire circuit;
- a HEPA (High-efficiency particulate air) filter or similar behind the drive system;
- a sterilisation chamber;
- an air conditioning system to the distribution circuit (temperature and humidity);
- the distributed circuit itself with as many outlets as there are in the enclosure: each of these outlets will be connected to each individual mask by means of a nozzle (which may be equipped with a non-return valve).

The individual mask will be fitted with another nozzle for connection to the exhaled air removal circuit. This circuit will be equipped with a disinfection chamber of the same type as that described for the inlet, and will conduct the air (again disinfected) to the outside for disposal. The masks shall be waterproof over their entire surface -except for the nozzles- and may be fitted with a conventional filter FPP1 or FPP2 type for when they not connected to the System (FFP = filtering face piece).

This ensures that users can breathe disinfected air all time when connected to the system.

The procedure for collective air disinfection comprises the following stages:

a) Pre-disinfection of the air in the distribution circuit;
b) Individual use/breathing of this air, and;
c) Subsequent disinfection of the used air in the extraction circuit.

This ingenious system could be useful in closed spaces of common use, such as:

- Classrooms.
- Leisure facilities: cinemas, theatres, television studios and other cultural disciplines.
- Means of transport: planes, trains, buses, metros, trams, taxis, ferries.
- Hospitals, operating theatres, waiting and consultation rooms, bedrooms and other facilities.
- Offices, meeting rooms and boardrooms.
- Banks and branch offices.
- Fixed posts in supermarkets and shopping centres, such as cash registers.
- Public administration services.
- Private homes.
- Etc.

This is a simple way of guaranteeing a healthy microenvironment in closed spaces commonly used in the fight against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases transmitted by air in the form of aerosols.

The research group is looking for patent licensing agreements. The company should be responsible for the development of the commercial prototype, the validation of the technology in real scenarios, and its introduction into the market. The university will be ready to provide technical assistance in each step, if required, specilly to adapt the technology to the scenario/place needed by the company.

Advantages & innovations

Cooperation plus value: 
Currently, there are no individual multi-purpose respirators for common areas on the market. This innovative system has the following advantages: - It guarantees the disinfected air inlet to one or multiple users simultaneously in closed spaces of common use. Also the air outlet is disinfected. - Both airflows are perfectly separated at all times, thus avoiding their accidental mixing. - Risk of contagion/infection through airborne pathogens are minimised and even prevented. - Easy construction and installation. Low implementation cost. - It can be easily adapted to existing air circulation infrastructures. - It is very versatile: it is able to be implemented readily and quickly in numerous closed spaces of common use. - The air ducts can be arranged on the ceiling, walls or floor of the premises without affecting the visibility or the necessary mobility inside. - It allows to complete the total capacity in places where there are restrictions: theatres, cinemas, means of transport, etc. - It allows a reduction in the safety distance in closed areas, drastically minimising the risk of infection. - It allows a personalised dosage of medication in aerosol form to patients who do not require intubation. - It is suitable for other broader uses: e.g. blow cleaning.

Stage of development

Cooperation stage dev stage: 
Prototype available for demonstration

Partner sought

Cooperation area: 
- Type of partner sought: Companies - Specific area of activity of the partner: manufacturers of respirators; manufacturers of air disinfection systems; manufacturers of masks; manufacturers of personal protective equipment (PPE); other related companies. - Task to be performed: * to buy a license for the technology, * to produce a commercial prototype, since the once developed its at laboratory scale * to carry out a larger scale validation in a relevant environment in order to increase TRL and bring it closer to the market, and * to introduce it into the market.

Type and size

Cooperation task: 
SME 11-50,SME <10,>500 MNE,251-500,SME 51-250,>500

diagram.jpg

Diagram describing the desinfiction procedure.

fig4.jpg

Figure 2. Prototype

figure1.jpg

Figure 1: Illustration of the system applied to a classroom with 16 students.