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University of Bath researchers seeking commercial partners for patented air purifier

Researchers at the University of Bath have patented a new form of high-performance air purifier that promises zero harmful waste.

The purifier uses FOAM3R filter technology which the team describe as a highly adaptable disruptor technology for microbial, CO2 and volatile organic compound (VOC) odour removal.

Prof. Semali Perera led development of the FOAM3R foam and a new air purifier design

FOAM3R can be used to produce multi-functional foam structures for a wide range of applications such as aircraft cabins, in-car air filters, ship and boat cabins, residential heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, home air purifiers and respirator and breathing apparatus.

The innovative foam comprises of high temperature polymer and active media such as selective adsorbents to capture contaminants and antibacterial agents to combat microbes. It is mouldable and lightweight, energy-efficient and anti-bacterial, and the addition of active metals into the structure makes it 99.999% efficient in removing common bacteria and viruses.

It also boasts a tailorable composition that allows for targeted capture of a wide range of small to large VOCs – some of which are responsible for unpleasant smells, while others can be harmful to human health – and high-performance removal of CO2.

The home air purifier design, currently in the prototype stage, features two cylindrical columns of the FOAM3R material. During operation, one column is used to purify the air, while the other ‘regenerates’ for reuse through heating, restoring the foam’s sorbent properties.

The process also removes collected pollutants and dead microbial debris captured in the air through heating, and recovers volatile components through cooling and condensation, which are collected as a liquid that is safe to pour away .

FOAM3R is created in a simple one-step manufacturing process and can be shaped into a variety of form factors. It can also be retro-fitted into existing technology and is more energy efficient than comparable carbon-granule based air purification systems.

Professor Semali Perera, from Bath’s Department of Chemical Engineering, says the air purifier design and FOAM3R technology could present a breakthrough in air purification. She adds: ‘We have created a highly efficient design, with none of the disposable cartridges or waste that we see in many commercial air purifiers, so there are several benefits to what we’ve created.

‘Our next step is to engage potential commercial partners with the requisite expertise to bring our invention to the market.’ The development team includes Prof Perera, Professor John Chew, Professor Barry Crittenden, Dr Ramya G

The University of Bath research team is seeking partnerships to help develop the technology. Interested parties can contact Irene Henning, Technology Transfer Manager, at ih468@bath.ac.uk.

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