A Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) research team has developed a nano-catalyst for air cleaning in a smoking room that removes 100 percent of acetaldehyde, the first class carcinogen, which accounts for the largest portion of the gaseous substances present in cigarette smoke. Furthermore, the KIST-developed catalyst removes 100 percent of the particle substances of cigarette smoke, such as nicotine and tar, converting those into water vapor and carbon dioxide.
According to the research team, the air cleaning equipment based on the newly-developed catalyst can purify over 80 percent of the cigarette smoke within 30 minutes and 100 percent of it within one hour in a 30 square meter smoking room, where 10 people are simultaneously smoking.
The research team led by Dr. Jongsoo Jurng and Dr. Gwi-Nam at KIST states that, “In cooperation with KT&G, KIST has developed a nano-catalyst filter coated with a manganese oxide-based nano-catalyst, which can be used in a smoking room to reduce and purify major harmful substances of cigarette smoke.”
Activated charcoal-based filters have been mostly used in a smoking room to remove gaseous materials in cigarette smoke. However, those filters are not effective in removing gaseous materials such as acetaldehyde, their absorbtion performance decreases fast in a closed facility such as a smoking room, and they need to be replaced at least every other week, which is rather inconvenient.
The research team has developed a nano-catalyst filter by evenly coating a manganese oxide-based (Mn/TiO2)) nano-catalyst powder onto a ceramic-based filter media. The nano-catalyst filter uses a technology that decomposes elements of cigarette smoke using oxygen radical, which is generated by decomposing ozone in the air on the surface of the manganese-oxide-based nano-catalyst filter. An evaluation test with total volatile organic compounds (TVOC), such as acetaldehyde, nicotine, and tar, which account for the largest volume of gaseous materials in cigarette smoke, is conducted to evaluate the performance of the newly-developed catalyst. The results show that the new catalyst decomposes over 98 percent of the aforementioned harmful substances.
For the performance evaluation test, the research team made an air cleaning equipment prototype using the nano-catalyst filter. The equipment was installed in an actual smoking room in the size of 30 square meters (with processing capacity of 4 CMM). About 80 percent of cigarette smoke elements were processed and decomposed to water vapor and carbon dioxide, within 30 minutes, and 100 percent of them within one hour. The test condition was designed based on the processing capacity which could circulate the air inside the entire 30 square meter smoking room once every 15 minutes.
The research team expected that it would take a year or so to commercialize this technology as the nano-catalyst and the filter coating technologies had been developed already.
Lead researcher Dr. Jurng mentions that “this research holds a significance since the new air cleaning equipment based on a simple catalyst successfully processes and removes gaseous materials in cigarette smoke, which are not easily removed with the existing air cleaning technologies. If the new equipment can be simplified and is economically feasible, it will be an important tool for keeping smoking room pleasant and clean. Also, from the convergence perspective, the new nanometer catalyst filter can be integrated with other air cleaning products such as air purifiers and air conditioners.”
Release Date: July 8, 2015