Guwahati, April 7 (IANS) The Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT-G) on Tuesday said its researchers have developed a low-cost UVC LED-based disinfection system amid the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the country.
The team is also addressing the critical need of the material required for the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) i.e. a fabrication material with waterproof ability.
Professor T. G. Sitharam, Director, IIT Guwahati, has formed a research team lead by Senthilmurugan Subbiah, Department of Chemical Engineering to work in collaboration with Excel Tech based in Bengaluru and Ultimate Aeroaqua Filter Private Limited based in Guwahati to develop the two technologies.
“IIT-G community is focused to work closely with government agencies and industrial partners to develop smart and low-cost technologies to fight against COVID-19 under the leadership of Professor T. G. Sitharam, Director, IIT Guwahati,” said Senthilmurugan Subbiah from the Department of Chemical Engineering.
According to the Institute, UVC system is a proven technology to sanitise the microorganism infected non-porous surface.
In this project, the team has developed an UVC-LED system capable of providing a certain dose in 30 seconds, such that the virus-infected surface will be sanitized.
The unique design of this UVC system will ensure uniform UVC exposure in virus-infected non-porous area.
Further to adopt this technology to the porous surfaces, the team is improving the design by integrating UVC with Ozone system such that surface with porous nature also can be sanitized. The system is equipped with an object movement identification feature so that the UVC exposure to human skin is avoided during the operation.
The primary role of IIT Guwahati is to develop the UVC system design, prototype (using 3D technology), and testing it in its laboratory. Three of them are designed for household sanitisation and one of them for sanitising bigger spaces like hospital wards, buses, metros, and railway compartments, including those transformed for COVID-19 care. The UVC LED system is under design and prototype development.
According to the research team, one of the critical requirements that COVID-19 PPE fabrication material should have is a waterproof ability. As a research institute, the IIT Guwahati is providing technical support to identify the best waterproof material from the Indian market and its performance concerning waterproofing.
With identified material, the industrial partner has produced a sample PPE for further waterproof testing. Further, the research team will be exploring potential technology for anti-microbial coating on PPE to reduce the viral load on PPE during exposure to COVID-19.
The PPE kit includes a jumped suite, face shield, mouth mask, head covers, gowns and shoe covers. Excel Tech Bangalore and Ultimate Aeroaqua Filter Private Limited foresee a need for at least one million PPE kits soon for India and both the companies are working together to meet this demand, with a separate task team assigned for this project. The initial trial for the production of 15,000 PPEs has been completed successfully and 200 PPEs are ready for shipment to IIT Guwahati for further improvement study.