Turn up the lights, leave them on, and shine them all around - numerical simulations point the way to more efficient use of Far-UVC lights for the inactivation of airborne coronavirus

Kenneth Wood, Andrew Wood, Camilo Peñaloza, Ewan Eadie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

It has been demonstrated in laboratory environments that ultraviolet-C (UVC) light is effective at inactivating airborne viruses. However, due to multiple parameters, it cannot be assumed that the air inside a room will be efficiently disinfected by commercial germicidal ultraviolet (GUV) systems. This research utilizes numerical simulations of airflow, viral spread, inactivation by UVC and removal by mechanical ventilation in a typical classroom. The viral load in the classroom is compared for conventional upper-room GUV and the emerging “Far-UVC.” In our simulated environment, GUV is shown to be effective in both well and poorly ventilated rooms, with greatest benefit in the latter. At current exposure limits, 18 commercial Far-UVC systems were as effective at reducing viral load as a single upper-room GUV. Improvements in Far-UVC irradiation distribution and recently proposed increases to exposure limits would dramatically increase the efficacy of Far-UVC devices. Modifications to current Far-UVC devices, which would improve their real-world efficacy, could be implemented now without requiring legislative change. The prospect of increased safety limits coupled with our suggested technological modifications could usher in a new era of safe and rapid whole room air disinfection in occupied indoor spaces.
Original languageEnglish
Article number13523
Number of pages13
JournalPhotochemistry and Photobiology
VolumeEarly View
Early online date23 Oct 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Oct 2021

Keywords

  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Ultraviolet-C
  • COVID-19

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