Parametric Evaluation of an Innovative Ultra-Violet PhotocatalyticOxidation (UVPCO) Air Cleaning Technology for Indoor Applications

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An innovative Ultra-Violet Photocatalytic Oxidation (UVPCO) air cleaning technology employing a semitransparent catalyst coated on a semitransparent polymer substrate was evaluated to determine its effectiveness for treating mixtures of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) representative of indoor environments at low, indoor-relevant concentration levels. The experimental UVPCO contained four 30 by 30-cm honeycomb monoliths irradiated with nine UVA lamps arranged in three banks. A parametric evaluation of the effects of monolith thickness, air flow rate through the device, UV power, and reactant concentrations in inlet air was conducted for the purpose of suggesting design improvements. The UVPCO was challenged with three mixtures ... continued below

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Hodgson, Alfred T.; Sullivan, Douglas P. & Fisk, William J. October 31, 2005.

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An innovative Ultra-Violet Photocatalytic Oxidation (UVPCO) air cleaning technology employing a semitransparent catalyst coated on a semitransparent polymer substrate was evaluated to determine its effectiveness for treating mixtures of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) representative of indoor environments at low, indoor-relevant concentration levels. The experimental UVPCO contained four 30 by 30-cm honeycomb monoliths irradiated with nine UVA lamps arranged in three banks. A parametric evaluation of the effects of monolith thickness, air flow rate through the device, UV power, and reactant concentrations in inlet air was conducted for the purpose of suggesting design improvements. The UVPCO was challenged with three mixtures of VOCs. A synthetic office mixture contained 27 VOCs commonly measured in office buildings. A building product mixture was created by combining sources including painted wallboard, composite wood products, carpet systems, and vinyl flooring. The third mixture contained formaldehyde and acetaldehyde. Steady state concentrations were produced in a classroom laboratory or a 20-m{sup 3} chamber. Air was drawn through the UVPCO, and single-pass conversion efficiencies were measured from replicate samples collected upstream and downstream of the reactor. Thirteen experiments were conducted in total. In this UVPCO employing a semitransparent monolith design, an increase in monolith thickness is expected to result in general increases in both reaction efficiencies and absolute reaction rates for VOCs oxidized by photocatalysis. The thickness of individual monolith panels was varied between 1.2 and 5 cm (5 to 20 cm total thickness) in experiments with the office mixture. VOC reaction efficiencies and rates increased with monolith thickness. However, the analysis of the relationship was confounded by high reaction efficiencies in all configurations for a number of compounds. These reaction efficiencies approached or exceeded 90% for alcohols, glycol ethers, and other individual compounds including d-limonene, 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene, and decamethylcyclopentasiloxane. This result implies a reaction efficiency of about 30% per irradiated monolith face, which is in agreement with the maximum efficiency for the system predicted with a simulation model. In these and other experiments, the performance of the system for highly reactive VOCs appeared to be limited by mass transport of reactants to the catalyst surface rather than by photocatalytic activity. Increasing the air flow rate through the UVPCO device decreases the residence time of the air in the monoliths and improves mass transfer to the catalyst surface. The effect of gas velocity was examined in four pairs of experiments in which the air flow rate was varied from approximately 175 m{sup 3}/h to either 300 or 600 m{sup 3}/h. Increased gas velocity caused a decrease in reaction efficiency for nearly all reactive VOCs. For all of the more reactive VOCs, the decrease in performance was less, and often substantially less, than predicted based solely on residence time, again likely due to mass transfer limitations at the low flow rate. The results demonstrate that the UVPCO is capable of achieving high conversion efficiencies for reactive VOCs at air flow rates above the base experimental rate of 175 m{sup 3}/h. The effect of UV power was examined in a series of experiments with the building product mixture in which the number of lamps was varied between nine and three. For the most reactive VOCs in the mixture, the effects of UV power were surprisingly small. Thus, even with only one lamp in each section, there appears to be sufficient photocatalytic activity to decompose most of the mass of reactive VOCs that reach the catalyst surface. For some less reactive VOCs, the trend of decreasing efficiency with decreasing UV intensity was in general agreement with simulation model predictions.

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  • Report No.: LBNL--59074
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-05CH11231
  • DOI: 10.2172/860388 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 860388
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc782453

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  • October 31, 2005

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  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

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  • April 1, 2016, 8:09 p.m.

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Hodgson, Alfred T.; Sullivan, Douglas P. & Fisk, William J. Parametric Evaluation of an Innovative Ultra-Violet PhotocatalyticOxidation (UVPCO) Air Cleaning Technology for Indoor Applications, report, October 31, 2005; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc782453/: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.