Development of a new photocatalytic oxidation air filter for aircraft cabin.Indoor Air. 2005 Oct; 15(5):326-34.IA
A new photocatalytic oxidation air filter (PCO unit) has been designed for aircraft cabin applications. The PCO unit is designed as a regenerable VOC removal system in order to improve the quality of the recirculated air entering the aircraft cabin. The PCO was designed to be a modular unit, with four UV lamps sandwiched between two interchangeable titanium dioxide coated panels. Performances of the PCO unit has been measured in a single pass mode test rig in order to show the ability of the unit to decrease the amount of VOCs (toluene, ethanol, and acetone) entering it (VOCs are fed separately), and in a multipass mode test rig in order to measure the ability of the unit to clean the air of an experimental room polluted with the same VOCs (fed separately). Triangular cell panels have been chosen instead of the wire mesh panels because they have higher efficiency. The efficiency of the PCO unit depends on the type of VOCs that challenges it, toluene being the most difficult one to oxidise. The efficiency of the PCO unit decreases when the air flow rate increases. The multipass mode test results show that the VOCs are oxidized but additional testing time would be necessary in order to show if they can be fully oxidized. The intermediate reaction products are mainly acetaldehyde and formaldehyde whose amount depends on the challenge VOC. The intermediate reaction products are also oxidized and additional testing time would be necessary in order to show if they can be fully oxidized. The development of this new photocatalytic air filter is still going on.
The VOC/odor removing adsorbers are available for only a small proportion of aircraft currently in service. The photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) technique has appeared to be a promising solution to odors problems met in aircraft. This article reports the test results of a new photocatalytic oxidation air filter (PCO unit) designed for aircraft cabin applications. The overall efficiency of the PCO unit is function of the compound (toluene, ethanol, and acetone) that challenges the unit and toluene appears to be the most difficult compound to oxidize. Test results have shown the influence of the design of the PCO unit, the air flow rate and the type of UV on the efficiency of the PCO unit. The results obtained in this study represent a first attempt on the way to design a filter for VOC removal in cabin aircraft applications. The PCO technique used by the tested prototype unit is able to partially oxidized the challenge VOCs but one has to be aware that some harmful intermediate reaction products (mainly formaldehyde and acetaldehyde) are produced during the oxidation process before being partially oxidized too.