The SteriSpace products, which range in size from units treating airflows of hundreds to thousands of cubic feet per minute (CFM), can protect against both biological and chemical airborne hazards. Our prototypes have been independently tested against hardy bacterial spores, vegetative bacteria and viruses, and shown to destroy >99.9999%, or six-logs, of the biological contaminant. With a Diesel Oxidative Catalyst (DOC) added to the blower or fan, SteriSpace has been shown to remove atmospheric pollutants, VOCs and organic particles.
SteriSpace is safe for the environment and does not generate waste: unlike other competing technologies specializing in air disinfection, the SteriSpace system does not require noxious, corrosive, or hazardous chemicals to kill the biological contaminants. It also prevents the inhalation of allergens, airborne viruses (SARS, NORO-Virus), airborne bacteria, and fungi.
SteriSpace can provide protection against airborne biological and chemical contaminants in medical settings. There are two types of situations. In the first, protection of the outside environment from an infected patient with a highly contagious disease is desired. In the second, it is desired to protect a patient within a room from outside hazards.
Examples of the first case are quarantine rooms or emergency shelters. Persons with infectious diseases such as TB, SARS or MERS can be isolated from the outside environment. SteriSpace can maintain a negative pressure in the room so that the airflow is always into the room. The SteriSpace unit can be located outside the room and the air removed can be exhausted to the outside. This use meets the CDC guidelines for this application. In some installations it may be preferable to return the decontaminated airstream to the isolation room. The return air could be integrated with a air handling system if one is present. In this case the unit may require approval as a medical device.
In the second case where the patient within a hospital room is to be protected against biological infection or environmental pollution, positive pressure is maintained in the room. The inlet air can be processed through the SteriSpace system to destroy harmful spores or viruses and remove environmental pollutants.
These protections are especially critical for immune-compromised patients or those with respiratory diseases.
The SteriSpace product (previously known as the BioBlower) has been developed in a series of programs, primarily funded by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). An initial prototype was then developed and submitted for independent testing in the DOD Joint Program Office for Collective Protection (JPM-CP) Technology Readiness Evaluation (TRE) program conducted at Research Triangle Institute (RTI). The prototype achieved a kill effectiveness of >99.9999% against five biological challenges, including three bacterial spores, a vegetative bacteria and a virus.
In follow-on DOD programs, prototypes have been developed for collective protection of personnel in portable shelters applications and buildings. These prototypes range is size from providing airflows of 300 CFM for shelters to 5,000 CFM for building applications. Independent biological testing against a variety of threats, including again a hardy spores (Bg), vegetative bacteria (E. coli) and a virus (MS2) confirmed earlier kill effectiveness levels.
The portable shelter applications for the 300 CFM type SteriSpace unit include forward-based medical facilities and command and control centers.
A Wide Area Collective Protection system for the protection of buildings against a biological attack or event was developed for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Engineering Research Center (ERDC). Our patented technology was applied to a mobile, 5,000 CFM unit, which was designed, built and tested to provide biological collective protection to buildings in a developed area or an expeditionary setting using mobile trailer-based systems. One or more systems are transported and connected to the make-up air duct in a building with an HVAC system or to an opening in a building without an HVAC system. This size SteriSpace unit could also be a fixed site unit installed in a building and connected to the air handling system.
SteriSpace can be used in industry, both in manufacturing plants and office buildings. Providing a work environment free of atmospheric pollution, it reduces health hazards. The capability of removing VOCs from a work area where solvents are part of a manufacturing process protects against inhaling fumes from such chemicals as acetone, toluene or hexane. Reduction in the concentration of these airborne fumes may be needed to satisfy air quality requirements found in OSHA regulations.
SteriSpace can also protect against biological events such as a terrorist attack or flu outbreak. Furthermore, in addition to providing a safe room during an attack, it could operate at a lower level during normal operation and reduce the spread of illness, resulting in less sick time use.
SteriSpace is capable of destroying airborne bacteria and viruses as well as removing atmospheric pollutants and organic particulates. A version of the device can be used to protect passengers on public transportation from the spread of disease within the vehicle as well as from exhaust pollutants ingested into the vehicle.
Recirculating the internal air through a SteriSpace unit could substantially reduce the spread of airborne viruses. It can also reduce the contaminants such as the VOCs and organic particles from diesel exhaust on buses or trains. School buses would be a prime example of this application.
Aircraft cabins are notorious for the spread of cold or flu viruses. The SteriSpace concept could be applied to design a unit to incorporate into the air handling system on an aircraft.
SteriSpace can protect persons or animals from outside or inside contamination. For example, contaminated air within a building can be purified as it is exhausted from the building or recirculated back to the building to conserve heat during cold seasons. Also, contaminated outside air can be purified as it enters the building.
Extensive testing for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has demonstrated complete kill (>99.9999%) of all biological contaminants at 240°C. The DoD typically uses a very hardy bacterial spore (Bacillus globigii, an Anthrax simulant) for testing. Less hardy contaminants, e.g. bird flu virus, will be killed at much lower temperatures and lower cost. We have done testing to demonstrate that viruses can be destroyed at significantly lower temperatures than hardy bacterial spores.
A catalyst placed into the system can help eliminate chemical contaminants. Testing to date has focused specific chemicals of interest, e.g. ammonia, particulates and VOCs.
Agricultural applications such as poultry farms for biological protection of the hens or manure treatment plants to remove the ammonia are key examples of possible SteriSpace capability. Limiting the spread of swine flu and removing nano-particle waste exposure from a pig slaughterhouse are other applications.