Advanced chemistry aids decontamination service

Bioquell launches rapidly deployed low temperature, residue-free biodecontamination service for cleanrooms and buildings

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) vapour was first used as bio-decontaminant within the industry as early as 1976. Since that time there have been considerable advances in the understanding of the process. Using Clarus technology the bio-decontamination of cleanrooms in excess of 1,000m3 can now be undertaken. Indeed in light of heightened publicity over "'superbugs"', the technology could also be applied to hospital wards. This has been made possible by a better understanding of the way in which H2O2 operates. A recent investigation of the vapour pressure equation, published in the PDA's Journal of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology1 calculates the conditions under which condensation will occur. Importantly, this proven formula highlights that water and humidity are influent factors in gaseous fumigation. With this knowledge Bioquell has designed a new range of equipment taking advantage of the involved chemistry. The Room Bio-Decontamination Service (RBDS) involves a Clarus R gas generator which is connected via an instrumentation module to a control computer outside the space being decontaminated. The generator is linked to a room and draws in air that is then heated. Simultaneously a 35% w/w H2O2 solution is flash evaporated into the air stream. The heated air carrying water and H2O2 is then delivered to the room through a rotating nozzle, distributing the hot gas at high velocity.

Vapour concentration rises As the process continues the H2O2 and water vapour concentration within the room rises until saturation is reached, at which point condensation starts to form, killing any micro-organisms present on the surfaces. An R2 aeration unit catalytically converts and HEPA filters the vapour at the end of the cycle. The RBDS can be rapidly deployed as each component of the equipment weighs less than 25kg and they can be linked together to decontaminate larger buildings. Bioquell says it provides a low temperature, residue-free process that has "excellent material compatibility" even with sensitive materials such as electronics. This process has been tested and found to be effective against a range of viruses, bacteria and moulds including MRSA.

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Bioquell (more information, website)