Hispacold’s has carried out tests on its eco3 air purifier, which it says showed that it is 99.7% effective in removing the coronavirus from the air. The tests were carried out by the Biological Defence Area at the CBN Defence Systems Department of the National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA) – a subdivision of the Spanish Defence Ministry.
During October, the eco3 air purifier was tested under strict safety conditions at La Marañosa Campus, INTA’s technology centre. The trials aimed to evaluate the extent of the reduction of viral load in an aerosol of the bacterial virus MS2 when it is treated using Cold Plasma – a treatment involving ionisation. The trials were carried out inside a 15-metre long coach equipped with eco-3 air purifiers.
Under current legislation regarding the protection of workers from risks related to exposure to biological agents in the workplace, the facility where such tests are carried out must be biosafety-level-equipped. SARS-Cov-2 is categorised as a biosafety level (BSL) 3 risk and any tests involving this virus must be carried out using biosafety cabinets, which use carefully controlled airflow or sealed enclosures to prevent infection. Such an environment was impossible to replicate safely inside a vehicle using the SARS-CoV-2 so the MS2 virus was chosen instead as it is 10 times more resistant than SARS-CoV-2 and can only be inactivated with a 64mJ/cm² dose compared to the 6.7mJ/cm² dose needed to inactivate the Covid-19 virus. This means the effect of the eco3 air purifier on SARS-CoV-2 would be far more powerful than its effect on the MS2 virus. The independent trials concluded that the air treatment systems – the eco3 air purifiers – installed in the bus’ HVAC systems were effective in reducing the MS2 viral load by 99.7% under the test conditions.
When HVAC systems are in operation, the eco3 air purifier emits ions into the air, creating an environment free of viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, microorganisms, bacteria, germs, allergens and dust particles. In addition, during the ion-generation process, ozone is produced in very low concentration (less than 0.05 ppm), which is harmless to passengers. This eliminates unpleasant odours and increases the oxygen concentration in the passenger compartment, reducing feelings of tiredness among passengers and drivers.
The eco3 air purifier is installed inside the return air equipment where the cleaning and disinfection of the interior air takes place and where the HVAC equipment’s own vents distribute the treated air back into the vehicle interior.
Hispacold HVAC systems are designed to work with a mix of interior and replacement exterior air, which before being heat treated and introduced into the passenger cabin, passes through a filtering section, where most potentially harmful particles are removed, improving interior air quality. The manufacturer says its systems guarantee an outside air flow of between 800 and 1000m3/h at all times with interior air being renewed every three or four minutes, exceeding regulation requirements.