Nevada Patent of the Month – May 2023

Most standard air purifiers are designed to capture pollutants using tools like HEPA filters, activated carbon and ozonation. While capturing pollutants is beneficial, these devices are often inherently inefficient. Promethium Limited is working to improve efficiencies in photocatalytic air purifiers, going beyond the capture of pollutants to actually destroying or deactivating them.

Their design uses a photoactivated semiconductor photocatalytic system that can effectively destroy and deactivate airborne pollutants, including microorganisms. The technology can also reduce the number of airborne viral particles, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. The approach involves passing contaminated air through stacked layers of photoactivated semiconductor with a 3-dimensionally ordered macroporous structure, where each layer is charged with the potential to create an electric field. The system is irradiated by incident radiation to excite the photoactivated semiconductor photocatalyst, which generates reductive or oxidative reactive species in the presence of oxygen or water in contact with the photoactivated semiconductor photocatalyst. The reactive species can destroy and deactivate airborne pollutants through reactions with radicals, anions, cations, and other species. 

The technology has several advantages over existing air purifiers, which primarily rely on the physical capture of contaminants or TiO2 photocatalytic oxidation. These methods are not always efficient and can be ineffective against viral particles. Promethium’s approach is more effective because it actually destroys and deactivates the pollutants, including microorganisms, and can reduce the number of viral particles in the air. The system’s efficiency is further enhanced by the serpentine pattern in which air flows across each layer in series through the stack, facilitating fluidic contacts and electromotive force and attraction of airborne particles to the internal geometry of the photocatalytic system. 

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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