Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Robotic Disinfectant System to Fight Norovirus Outbreaks at Sea

Biocidal Gas Ensures Complete Sterilisation
Shipping News Feature
DENMARK – WORLDWIDE – Although aimed primarily at the luxury cruise market the latest product from InfuserApS, based at the University of Copenhagen, may prove of interest to other sectors of the shipping industry, particularly those where large groups of disparate people are confined, such as offshore energy facilities. Infuser, in close cooperation with the University, is developing technologies to combat social ills such as air pollution and pathogen contamination.

In the past few years the company has been seeking the most efficient way to sterilize rooms and surfaces and has come up with a robotic, mobile device, STERISAFE™-Pro, which disinfects these automatically and removes all viruses and bacteria. The company claims that the system avoids the use of chemicals and is a high-tech solution will allow cruise ships management to perform preventive disinfection more often as the cost and the work-flow disruption is minimal.

Such potential disasters such as a Norovirus event can be dealt with quickly as the system greatly increases the chance of containing the infection. This will of course significantly reduce the risk of this financial and, for cruise lines certainly, marketing nightmare.

So how do you clean something that effectively without bleaching? The company refers to the use of a gas and, on further investigation this proves to be ozone, known by most only as ‘that layer’ which is essential in preventing too many harmful rays reaching earth from the sun. In fact ozone is a very efficient germicide, so efficient that only a robotic system can safely utilise it as a disinfectant.

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) safety limit for ozone is 0.1 parts per million and the Sterisafe system produces more than this meaning any room requiring sterilisation should NOT be occupied during treatment. To make the gas, the system first concentrates oxygen to 98%, then produces ozone using a di-electric barrier discharge (corona). Using pure oxygen means that no harmful by-products such as NOx are produced.

Once the disinfection is completed, the system converts back the ozone (O3) to oxygen (O2) until the machine's internal monitor measures less than 0.1ppm. Once a safe concentration is reached, the operator will be informed via a wireless tablet that the room can be safely re-entered again.

The manufacturers claim that theirs is the only disinfection system which integrates such a real concentration monitoring and an active removal process of the biocidal gas.