Mobile plasma technology for room disinfection

RESEARCH PROJECT »MoPlas2Dekon-PRO«

Plasma systems for quickly disinfecting rooms

Interior of ambulance
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Rapidly disinfecting a room can break the chain of infection

The swift spreading of pathogens such as the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, poses a serious threat to civil security. In the context of an ever-growing world population with a high degree of global connectivity, we should expect pandemics of as-yet unknown or mutated pathogens to escalate in the future. Suitable measures are needed to guarantee the highest possible protection for the world’s population and combat the uncontrolled spread of infectious pathogens as early as possible. To this end, efficient and flexible methods for disinfecting contaminated rooms in buildings (e.g., hospitals, care homes, schools) and means of transport (ambulances, public transit) are necessary.

In the BMBF joint research project MoPlasDekon (funding no. 13N14127; 09/2016 - 08/2019), a mobile plasma system was developed for disinfecting the personal protective equipment (PPE) of rescue workers, and its microbicidal efficacy was investigated. Specific sensors were developed for process control and monitoring of the gas concentration in a room. For the first time, it was possible to show that surfaces can be disinfected efficiently by using compact plasma systems and ambient air with water vapor.

Further development of mobile plasma technology for room disinfection

Based on the encouraging results of the MoPlasDekon project, the aim of the MoPlas2Dekon-PRO research project is the further development of mobile plasma technology for room disinfection on a realistic scale. At the same time, the project is characterized by its particularly high practical relevance, taking a holistic approach involving interdisciplinary research conducted in conjunction with science, industry and end users prior to practical testing.

The project mainly focusses on:

  • Further development of mobile plasma technology for rapid disinfection of rooms (i.e., care homes, emergency vehicles),
  • Microbiological performance testing under a variety of operating conditions on a realistic scale (model rooms, emergency vehicles) and evaluating material compatibility,
  • Determining the effective plasma species as a prerequisite for process optimization and approval,
  • Optimization of mobile gas sensors for monitoring the disinfection process and the ambient air.

User testing for room disinfection under realistic operating conditions

As part of user testing under the direction of the Bavarian Red Cross, the requirements of emergency personnel for room disinfection are to be determined and considered for the further development of the plasma system. The operation and practicality of the various levels of development and the final demonstrator are assessed by emergency personnel during various disaster response exercises.

The innovation envisaged is based on a versatile technology that has not yet been fully exploited in practice. The microbicidal effect of gas plasma harbors particularly high potential. A largely automated, compact plasma system for disinfecting rooms significantly contributes to preventing the spread of novel pathogens by efficiently disinfecting contact surfaces and ambient air. As a consequence, the results of the MoPlas2Dekon-PRO project are directly aimed at protecting society and increasing civil security.

Project data MoPlas2Dekon-PRO

Project term: 2022 to 2024
Project management/ funding: VDI/VDE Innovation + Technology GmbH / Federal Ministry of Education and Research BMBF
Funding programme: BMBF programme "Innovationen im Einsatz – Praxisleuchttürme der zivilen Sicherheit"
Funding information: The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under the funding code 13N16321.
Project partners: Plasmatreat GmbH (coordinator), KNESTEL Technologie & Elektronik GmbH, Ruhr-Universität Bochum chair for applied electrodynamics and plasma technology, Bayerisches Rotes Kreuz
Associated partners: Bundesanstalt Technisches Hilfswerk, Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance
Previous project: Mobile plasma technology to reduce biological hazards (2016 to 2019)