Project: Air purification through combining a novel atmospheric pressure plasma with advanced nanocatalysts

Background:_x000D_There is an urgent need for advanced air purification units to address the health problems resulting from the poor indoor air quality (IAQ) caused by hazardous airborne substances. Almost all workplaces are affected, including offices and commercial buildings as well as many industrial applications, particularly those in emerging high-value manufacturing sectors (electronics, pharmaceutical etc). Regulatory compliance is adding considerable costs to businesses, stifling innovation in a number of key areas. PlasmAir aims to develop an advanced air purification module comprising the combination of a patented microwave atmospheric pressure plasma with state-of-the-art nanostructured catalysts in a reactor capable of completely destroying harmful chemicals and biological contaminants from air streams without producing any harmful by-products. This will represent a step-change in air treatment capability, and will add considerable economic and technical value to existing options, creating a substantially increased market share for air handling and purification companies._x000D__x000D_PlasmAir is a 2 year Applied R&D collaborative project between three innovative SMEs, which aims to develop novel catalysts for use in air purifiers The catalysts will be based on porous ceramic materials coated with active catalysts produced by a novel sol-gel method. The surfaces will be prepared specifically for detoxification within a plasma-enhanced air purifier. These advanced catalysts will be further activated by a unique state-of-the-art atmospheric plasma, allowing the possibility of very robust, compact and energy efficient designs. The catalyst can also be regenerated with the plasma stream._x000D__x000D_Technical Application:_x000D_Innovative versions of the sol-gel process will be developed to produce new nanostructured catalysts tailored for plasma activation in an air purification application. These will be coated on to specially modified substrates to be deployed in a novel reactor. Innovative sol-gel based routes will be developed aimed at high functionality and low cost. The innovative plasma system to be developed in PlasmAir is unique in the way that it generates a diffuse stream of chemically reactive species that are normally achievable only by low pressure plasmas and yet does so without the expense, inconvenience, and low throughput of vacuum operation. The atmospheric operation and adaptability of the plasma gives it the potential to be further developed for commercial application in a number of areas. It has demonstrated particularly high potential as an enhanced chemical reactor for detoxification applications. Previous investigations have shown the plasma to be essentially non-equilibrium in nature, and it therefore produces a rich stream of activated species that can greatly increase the rate of normal catalytic processes._x000D__x000D_Market Applications:_x000D_The technology demonstrator will be proven on the ventilation system of a typical office building. The capabilities of the proposed system give it several key advantages:_x000D_- it effectively converts all chemicals since it does not rely on filtration_x000D_- it is particularly effective on bio-contaminants, which are of increasing concern in IAQ, and which are not dealt with by conventional technology_x000D_- low COtenance requirement and hence cost (no electrodes or filters)_x000D_- no harmful by-products or secondary disposal problems_x000D_- high efficiency, making it attractive for customers that have previously rejected conventional methods_x000D_As well as the office building market addressed directly in the project, the technology will support wider applications in businesses and other organisations (e.g.. research centres) where the careful control of both process atmospheres and any potential polluting emissions is important, such as those found, for example, in the chemicals, pharmaceutical, food, transport, electronics and automotive sectors._x000D__x000D_Consortium:_x000D_The PlasmAir project brings together the core innovative technologies necessary to produce the novel air purifier, and provides a rapid route to market. C-Tech Innovation is a research and technology development consultancy SME with strong experience in environmental applications. KeraNor is another research performing SME, with specialist expertise in ceramic filters and sol-gel coating. Axess is a commercial SME specialising in air treatment._x000D_KeraNor and C-Tech will develop a low temperature sol-gel route to provide nanostructured catalysts tailored for the selected process in a way that will make the system cost-effective. These will be applied to substrates developed by KeraNor, which will also be tailored specifically to optimize their catalytic activity. C-Tech will adapt its innovative atmospheric plasma for catalytic activation. Axess Technologies will apply its extensive experience in air purification to engineer a demonstrator system and to generate end user application test data to underpin a comprehensive commercial plan._x000D__x000D_

Acronym PlasmAir (Reference Number: 5082)
Duration 09/05/2010 - 01/06/2012
Project Topic PlasmAir will develop an innovative air purifier to remove chemical and biological pollutants from offices, hospitals and industrial environments, with a combined market value of >€2B/yr. PlasmAir will exploit the novel combination of a microwave plasma system with advanced nano-catalysts.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
- With the in depth market assessment performed by Axess, a much better understanding of the target markets was found. Showing that the initial target market identified was not as relevant as initially assumed._x000D_- Manufacture of a system demonstrator that was used in investigating the efficiency of the unit of decontamination of polluted air streams_x000D_- A significant step forwards in the understanding and optimisation of ceramic supported catalysts, with varying ceramics being used with both established and novel doped catalysts for tailoring the destruction of target analytes._x000D_- Increased knowledge in the production of ceramic honeycomb support structures.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 3

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
3 Axess technologies Ltd Partner United Kingdom
3 KeraNor AS Partner Norway
3 C-Tech Innovation Ltd Coordinator United Kingdom