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Light on, virus dead

New applications for UV-C disinfection

Radiation has been used for decades to disinfect for example drinking water. Also surfaces of ambulances or treadmills in industrial production are cleaned or room air is freed from germs by UV-C light sources. Corona pandemic and the related search for solutions to contain the virus has increasingly moved UV-C lighting concepts into focus.

By means of ultraviolet light the city of Hanau for example wants to contain the spreading of the virus in schools. The application in busses and trams is also considered. A Hessian company produces cabinets for medical practices and hospitals with disinfecting lighting technology. The handrails of escalators are also potential targets for cleaning by means of light: The modules are installed into the return of the rolling bustard – in a closed area – and sterilize the handrail within seconds. This technology is tested for instance in an underground station in Munich and the Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall in Hamburg. The need for hygiene solutions is also huge in tourism: For example, an Austrian startup has developed a system to disinfect lift gondolas in ski resorts.

Also privately against germs
Consumers can also protect themselves against germs by means of light. For instance in the car: An appliance as big as an apple cleans air in small rooms. It draws in the air and leads it through a filter with a series of light emitting UV-A diodes. The photocatalytic reaction kills viruses and bacteria before the air is expelled again. The user does not come in contact with the radiation – which is very important because UV radiation can damage skin and eyes and is cancerous according to the Radiation Protection Office.

For interiors there are lamps available which direct radiation upwards and build a UV-C veil under the ceiling which disinfects the circulating air. However ventilation should nevertheless not be dispensed with.

Proper use
Generally, to prevent health risks, during the application of UV-C appliance it should be insured that the user is protected from radiation. The customer should also pay attention to quality and CE marking when buying. In public space professional planning is indispensable. Notes in English for the proper use of UV-C light can be found in the publications of the International Commission on Lighting CIE and the Global Lighting Association.