As COVID-19 continues to ravage the global populations, the world is singularly focused on finding ways to battle the novel coronavirus. The premier institutes of the country are trying hard to develop the novel disinfection and decontamination technologies to fight the spread of COVID-19. In a similar attempt, Dr B R Ambedkar National Institute of Technology Jalandhar developed a Novel Technology for Chemical-free Sanitization of the Indoor Air to combat the spread of COVID-19 through airborne transmission in enclosed spaces such as offices, lifts, shops, restaurants, classrooms, hospitals, airplane cabins, health care facilities, ICUs, isolation and quarantine centers etc. Dr Lalit Kumar Awasthi, Director of NIT Jalandhar, today transferred this technology to M/s Hi-Safe Electronics Corporation for commercial production of chemical-free indoor air sanitizer. If everything goes well, the product based on this technology will be available in the market within a month’s time. The technology was invented by Dr Jatinder Kumar Ratan, Associate Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, and patent for the same has already been filed along with Dr KS Nagla of Instrumentation department. Dr SK Sinha, Dean (Research & Consultancy), Dr SK Mishra (Registrar) and Dr Sangeeta Garg, Head (Chemical Engineering) were present during this technology transfer activity. Dr JK Ratan and Dr KS Nagla expressed their deep sense of gratitude to Prof. LK Awasthi for all kind of support extended to make this technology developed for commercialization.
The union and state governments have issued the special directives for the use of ACs and other ventilation means to stop the airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the enclosed spaces. Airborne transmission can take place through droplet-nuclei (less than 5 microns in size) formed by the process of evaporation and desiccation of the larger cough droplets, usually within milliseconds. Small droplet-nuclei may remain in the air for hours and can be transported over a wider area via air currents depending upon air flow rate and humidity. As such, coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has been found present in the swabs taken from the exhaust vents of the rooms occupied by the infected patients. Current equipments available in the market for decontamination of indoor air are based on UV technology only, and have the deficiencies of poor light distribution, low intensity and high mass transfer resistance, which leads to poor performance. The novel technology developed at NIT Jalandhar is based on a combination of photocatalysis & self-disinfecting glass, and has the potential to develop a comprehensive air purifier capable of not only eliminating the viruses and bacteria, but also reducing the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) & other environmental pollutants present in the indoor air to make it healthier and more breathable.