Team of researchers at Kaunas University of Technology (KTU), Lithuania are creating a new generation indoor air cleaning device. The innovative technology will clean the air from the dangerous nanoparticles and gas pollution, which often pass through usual filters.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), household air pollution can be linked to various diseases, including stroke and lung cancer, which cause almost 4 million premature deaths annually. Although exposure to air pollution can be attributed to serious respiratory and circulatory system diseases, people tend to overlook the dangers, which cannot be noticed by naked eye.
"Currently, most household ventilation systems use low efficiency filters; they can trap some of the hard particles, but are ineffective in cleaning the air from nanoparticles and gas pollution. This prompted us to look for solution", says Edvinas Krugly, senior researcher at KTU Faculty of Chemical Technology.
He says that the main pollution source in cities are transport vehicles, especially old and diesel cars. This problem is particularly serious in poorer countries, similar to Lithuania where people tend to buy used older cars. The other pollution source is heating, when using old, low quality stoves and burning household waste. This often results in high levels and highly toxic pollution.
The researcher reminds, that there are places in the world, such as certain Chinese cities, where pollution levels are obviously dangerous to the health. However, the strategies of managing pollution in these places are not always efficient.
"People tend to spend almost 90 percent of their time indoors. Therefore, improving the quality of the indoors air is one of the most efficient means to diminish the negative impact of pollution on human health", says Edvinas Krugly.
The new generation air cleaning technology, created at KTU laboratories uses advanced methods for breaking down pollutants, based on an entirely new concept. The new device is being developed according to the principles of eco-design: it is not using any chemical materials, is waste-free and very energy efficient, using small amount of electricity. The device can be mounted into already existing ventilation systems of private households and offices.
The innovative technology, which is being developed within the project funded by the Research Council of Lithuania, will be finalised in two years. It is being planned that the technology, will hit European and Asian markets in three years, after real-world performance testing of the prototype. It will be especially relevant to the counties, where the pollution reaches critical levels in winter. Manufacturing of the product will be taken over by the startup company created by the researchers.
At the moment, 4 researchers and 4 students studying sustainable engineering and eco-technology at KTU are working on the project.