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Air-cleaning in a box brings down industrial pollutants – University of Copenhagen

Air-cleaning in a box brings down industrial pollutants – University of Copenhagen
Five aluminum boxes mounted on the roof of the Jysk Miljoerens industrial plant clean the air and deal with smells. Photo from University of Copenhagen

An air cleaning device, based on the natural cleaning ability of the Earth’s atmosphere, could be the key to enable industries to meet stringent new emission rules.

Matthew Johnson, of the University of Copenhagen’s department of Chemistry, has invented and patented the air cleaning method in a device known as an atmospheric photochemical accelerator.

He was inspired by the Earth’s atmosphere where sunlight triggers a process in which polluting gases form particles when they come across naturally occurring compounds such as ozone. These particles are then washed out of the atmosphere by rain.

“I realized that the mechanism is so simple, that we could wrap it in a box and use it to clean indoor air,” said Mr. Johnson.

Mr. Johnson’s cleaning mechanism could help deal with volatile organic compound produced by industrial activities which have been overwhelming the natural atmospheric processes. This in turn could allow industries to continue operating under the new tighter emission regulations that the European Union is putting into place.

Compared with traditional methods, the atmospheric photochemical accelerator removes pollution rather than diluting it. The method requires no filter and consumes very little energy so maintenance and operation are both inexpensive.

It has been proven with the help of an investor Infuser, which allowed the testing of the devices at a Danish industrial plant called Jysk Miljoerens in the port city of Aarhus.

Jysk Miljoernes separates oil from bilge water in ships, letting the oil to be recycled. The atmospheric photochemical accelerators were housed in five aluminum boxes mounted on the roof of the plant. Not only did they successfully filter pollutants, they also helped combat the smells of the wastewater treatment plant.

The entire process was patented with the help of the University of Copenhagen’s technology transfer unit. The university facilitated the collaboration between Mr. Johnson and Infuser, drawing up the licensing agreement between the two and getting financing for the experiments. – EcoSeed Staff

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