Research Project Summary Information
Evaluation of Air Cleaning/Purification Technologies(ST7047-1)
Several approaches can be used to improve indoor air quality (IAQ) in buildings. Use of ventilation air and removal of pollutant sources are examples of such approaches. Use of air cleaning and purification systems to remove pollutants is another approach for improving IAQ. Many air cleaning and purification products are available in the market. Unfortunately, there is limited impartial information on the effectiveness of these products. Syracuse University (SU), the New York Indoor Environment Air Quality Center (NYIEQ), and NMPC have begun a research project to evaluate the performance of these products. To date, the project has begun constructing an environmental test chamber to evaluate the various air cleaning products. After construction of the test chamber is complete, SU will begin testing products and documenting performance.
SU will: (1) select 15 to 20 representative products for testing based on a review of commercially available technologies, (2) evaluate the effectiveness of these products for removing pollutants in a newly constructed test chamber, (3) monitor the energy usage of these products during the testing, (4) compile and present the results of the testing in form useable to building owners, HVAC engineers, and IAQ consultants, (5) conduct a seminar and Internet broadcast to communicate the results of this work to the IAQ industry.
This work will allow the balance between energy efficiency and IAQ to be better understood. This work will provide a better understanding of how contaminants are transported through buildings. This work may identify market opportunities for new products that could be manufactured in New York State.
SU tested 15 products in a one-of-kind thermal and air quality research facility. These products employed various technologies to remove the VOCs including activated carbon filters, ultraviolet photocatalytic oxidation (UV PCO), plasma, ionization, and bio-filtration. The products were tested against 16 VOCs, including formaldehyde, toluene, and hexane.
The filter-based products performed best for general removal of indoor gas pollutants. However, these products did not perform well in removing lighter VOCs, such as formaldehyde. The newer technologies (e.g., ionization and UV PCO) used one fifth the energy of the filter-based technologies, on average. The commercially available ionization and UV PCO were found to have little effect in removing VOCs. A new prototype UV PCO device was tested which offered similar performance as filter-based products for removing heavier VOCs. This device outperformed filter-based products for removing formaldehyde. The plasma and ionization based products tested produced ozone as a by-product, which could cause health concerns in rooms with low ventilation rates.
SU and NYIEQ have disseminated the results of this project with presentations in Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, and Syracuse at professional society meetings. SU and NYIEQ are also preparing summary brochures consumers and indoor air quality professionals.
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