Photo catalytic Oxidation or PCO
Technology for improving Air Quality
PCO is a technology that accelerates the natural decomposition of organic matter. It was discovered in Japan in 1969 by two professors at Tokyo University and has since resulted in over 6,000 patents worldwide. This technology is still quite new to the US. It is currently being utilized for air and water purification. PCO is FDA approved for reducing bacteria in poultry and pork processing, and is used to cleanse pesticides from fruits and vegetables. PCO technology is powerful, effective on all organic contaminants, and completely green.
How it works -- PCO technology uses a light source (natural sunlight, ambient sunlight, or florescent light) to react with a titanium dioxide-based catalyst (a catalyst is a substance that can speed up a chemical reaction without being used up itself), in the presence of water, to create hydroxyl radicals and super-oxide ions oxidizers that convert harmful microorganisms and chemicals that are constantly circulating through the air into harmless CO2 (carbon dioxide, which is expelled during respiration) and H2O (water).
PCO Snap-On by SafeGuard
AirWash PCO by SafeGuard
These oxidizers, or hydroxyl radicals, are second in power only to fluorine and are four times stronger than 100% chlorine in its oxidative power (Its ability to break up organic molecules). It is 1 and ½ times more powerful than ozone – without the harmful off-gassing from ozone. These hydroxyl radicals generated in the photo catalytic process act like Pac-men – to actively and continuously attack and break up any and all organic molecules in proximity. The process happens in billionths of a second and continues to happen as long as light, water vapor, and TiO2 are present. The TiO2 is never used up – it just serves as the catalyst for the reaction.
Titanium Dioxide (TiO2)is an oxide of the metal titanium which occurs naturally as a rutile in some acid igneous rocks and metamorphic rocks, and is also in sedimentary rocks and beach sands. It is the ninth most common mineral on the planet. It is widely used as in pigments, sunscreens, cosmetics, toothpaste and as a food additive (ex. Aspirin tablets contain 2% TiO2). The FDA classifies TiO2 as “GRAS” or “Generally Recognized as Safe”.
TiO2 is also a semiconductor. When a semiconductor is bombarded with light of certain wavelengths, electrons in the material’s valence band are excited into the conduction band. This means they are free to move and their energy ends up splitting nearby water molecules into two parts, hydroxyl radicals and super-oxide ions. Free radicals are uncharged atoms or molecules with unpaired electrons. Unpaired electrons are highly reactive, so free radicals are likely to quickly engage in chemical reactions.
These aggressive oxidizers, especially hydroxyl radicals, have a very short half-life in air (billionths of a second): they defy measurement by precision laboratory techniques. They do not go wafting from room to room like ozone which can be a benefit if limited to .05ppm in occupied areas, its half-life is in air is measured in days. Free radical oxidizers do not persist long enough to travel through air away from the catalyst surface. Consumers will not be exposed to super-oxide ions and hydroxyl radical. They cannot build up in closed rooms.
When applied to the interior of air plenums, air ducts or air handlers (and even cooling coils and other surfaces), TiO2 with the addition of specific UV light, will effectively oxidize VOCs, bacteria, molds, viruses, pollen and other allergens. This includes influenza, MRSA, Notovirus, and even anthrax. PCO technology eliminates particles down to 0.001 microns from air, including the very tiny lung penetrating particles. Most HEPA air filters only filter particles larger than .3 microns.
The photo-catalytic process can eliminate toxic gas phase VOC pollutants including formaldehyde, exhaust fumes, benzene, toluene, and odors like ammonia and hydrogen sulfide from our air. Even gases like carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide, untouched by most other technologies are destroyed.