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Industrial pollutants tackled by air cleaning in a box18th of January 2013
A new air cleaning device designed in Denmark could become a key factor in enabling industries to meet stringent new emissions rules.
The patented atmospheric photochemical accelerator was developed at the University of Copenhagen by Matthew Johnson. He was inspired by the natural cleaning ability of the Earth's atmosphere where sunlight triggers a process in which polluting gases form particles when they come into contact with naturally-occurring compounds such as ozone. These particles are then washed out of the atmosphere by rain.
"I realised that the mechanism was so simple that we could wrap it in a box and use it to clean indoor air," said Johnson.
The efficacy of the device was proven at an industrial plant in Aarhus where oil from ships is separated from bilge water for recycling. The atmospheric photochemical accelerators were housed in five aluminum boxes mounted on the roof of the plant. Not only did they successfully filter pollutants, they also helped to combat wastewater treatment smells.
The device could help solve the problem of volatile organic compounds produced by industrial activities which have been overwhelming the natural atmospheric processes, according to the developers. This could allow industries to continue operating under new, tighter emission regulations that the European Union is putting into place.
Compared with traditional methods the atmospheric photochemical accelerator is said to remove pollution rather than diluting it. The method requires no filter and consumes very little energy - and this is claimed to keep down maintenance and operation costs.