Researchers at the University of São Paulo at São Carlos have developed a new air conditioning system capable of eliminating bacteria, fungi, and viruses — including the coronavirus — from closed indoor environments, using UVC germicidal light. The system uses the radiation of UVC light to eliminate microparticles — such as viruses — lingering in the air in unventilated rooms, thus significantly lowering the chances of Covid-19 transmission indoors. According to testing in closed rooms at the university, the system kills 99.9 percent of microorganisms circulating in the air.
The AC uses two air channels: one at floor level to pull particles down from breathing human height into the system, and another near the ceiling to disperse the microorganism-free air after passing through UVC light shots. The radiation level used is considered to be harmless to humans. By way of this process, the system will be capable of cleaning 100 cubic meters (3531.47 cubic feet) of air in 15 minutes.
Under normal conditions, the virus causing Covid-19 can linger in the air or on surface areas for many hours, which makes for a higher risk of mass spread in close environments where air circulation is limited. USP-São Carlos researchers are now preparing to install the new equipment in classrooms and other indoor spaces throughout its campus.
As previously reported this week by The Brazilian Report, São Paulo’s state administration is planning to return to in-person classes in September — a measure considered too early and overly risky by many. However, if proven effective and replicable, the new AC system could be adopted by other education institutions to mitigate the risks of the early return to classes.Support this coverage →