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iPoint Technology project develops innovative plasma air sterilisation system for modes of transport

NEWS: Collaboration with the University of Southampton, supported by SPRINT

Creating and accessing a new coach bus HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system market in the UK

iPoint Technology, a space sector SME that provides web-enabled solutions for the transport and logistics industry, has collaborated with the University of Southampton on a new SPRINT-funded project to develop an innovative plasma air sterilisation system for modes of transport.

iPoint Technology drew on the University’s leading expertise in plasma physics and modelling to develop a porous non-thermal plasma source for air sterilisation, which will remove all pathogens to provide safer transit environments and freedom from airborne infections. iPoint Technology worked with experts from the University of Southampton to use satellite data to monitor key metrics on the ground to better understand vehicle time in service and air flow rates, as well as to monitor the volume of air that is sanitised and other key outputs.

The successful development of a laboratory prototype will help iPoint Technology to create and access a new coach bus HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system market in the UK. Current cleaning or sanitising processes in the transport industry use hydrogen peroxide fogging and ozone (trioxygen) fogging, which can be hazardous to health and vehicles need to be out of service before treatment can commence.

Though this SPRINT project, iPoint Technology and the University of Southampton have successfully demonstrated the feasibility of using a porous plasma source for decontaminating pathogens in airflow and removing harmful bi-product of the generated plasmas via the implemented granular carbon system. The developed conceptual system prototype is used to demonstrate its potential usages as the next generation of biologically safe vehicle HVAC system. Currently, iPoint Technology and the University of Southampton team are exploring an opportunity to use the plasma air sterilisation system in confined spaces requiring air safety such as hospitals as an intermediate step to be used in vehicles.

The project with the University of Southampton was funded by the £7.5 million SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology) programme. SPRINT provides unprecedented access to university space expertise and facilities. SPRINT helps businesses through the commercial exploitation of space data and technologies.

Henry Fleming, CEO at iPoint Technology said: “Sanitising is a big issue for transport operators so there is significant interest in this area. Following trials and benchmarking in test and controlled environments during the project, in the next phase, we may be able to look at tracking how the vehicle travels and how many people travel.”

Doctor Minkwan Kim, Associate Professor at the University of Southampton added: “We were able to help iPoint Technology by providing access to our expertise and the advanced laboratory facilities at the University where we could test the plasma to verify the feasibility of the techniques. By characterising the system, we can see how the level of bacteria killed can be achieved.”

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