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What is Photocatalysis and how does it work?

Photocatalysis is a radiation-driven phenomenon that makes use of a substance known as ‘photocatalyst’ which is activated by either natural (solar) or artificial (ultraviolet lamps) radiation to speed up a chemical reaction.

Photocatalysis is a clean technology because it is chemical-free - without corrosive materials and disinfection byproducts. Photocatalysis using UVC radiation is highly compatible with air treatment processes and does not pose any health hazards.

When photocatalyst titanium dioxide (TiO2) absorbs Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight or illuminated light source (UV lamps), it will produce pairs of electrons and holes. The positive hole of titanium dioxide breaks apart the water molecule to form hydrogen gas and hydroxyl radical (OH).

The negative electron reacts with oxygen molecules to form super oxide anion.

This cycle continues when UVC light is available.

The most powerful advanced oxidation systems are based on the generation of hydroxyl radicals. Hydroxyl radical is an extremely powerful oxidation agent. With the strong oxidation strength of hydroxyl radicals, photocatalytic oxidation can effectively disinfect, deodorize, and purify the air, water, and different surface area.

Photocatalysis Inactivates Coronavirus

Photocatalysis breaks chemical bonds using radiation energy. The photocatalytic reactivity of titanium dioxide (TiO2) can be applied for the reduction or elimination of polluted compounds in the air. TiO2 accelerates the oxidation process and decomposes airborne toxic organic matter.

An air purifier with TiO2 eliminates viruses, pollen, bacteria, and smoke with the high oxidizing effect of a photocatalyst.

The use of a photocatalytic air purifier is a good way to combat indoor air pollution. It is made up of a fan, a particulate filter, a horizontal or pass-through photocatalytic medium using one or several lamps (UVC lamps), and an ionizer or activated carbon filter.

Ultraviolet (UVC) lamp inside Eolis Air Manager

Researchers from Rice University plans to utilize the photocatalytic approach to disinfection to selectively adsorb and inactivate the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. According to Professor Pedro Alvarez, SARS-CoV-2 has been found in air ducts, suggesting it could spread through a building’s air-conditioning system.

Scientists recognized the role of photocatalysis in air purification, indoor and outdoor pollution control, odor control, organic matter degradation, water treatment, and its application in self-cleaning materials and surfaces.

It provides an exceptionally good way to treat the polluted environment without the risk of degrading it further.

Download the Photocatalysis Explained PDF file below:

Photocatalysis Explained
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