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Technology Developed by BGU and Rice University Researchers Will Filter COVID-19 Particles From the Air

Posted By Graphene Council, Friday, September 25, 2020

Technology developed by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in partnership with Rice University in Houston, Texas is being commercialized by LIGC Application Ltd. to develop and manufacture products for filtration systems, including those that filter COVID-19 airborne particles. 

LIGC is a company at the forefront of laser-induced graphene (LIG) commercialization. Hubei Forbon Technology Co. Ltd. (300387.SZ) in Wuhan, China provided $3 million in funding.

“For the past five years, our lab at BGU's Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research has focused on the development of LIG, specifically in antimicrobial filtration and environmental applications,” says Dr. Chris Arnusch. “We are excited to be commercializing our technology in a number of air filtration products for COVID-19 and other specialized filtration applications.”

LIGC Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Yehuda Borenstein says, “In the absence of better filtration technology, the indoor spaces where we used to spend most of our ‘normal’ life—schools, stores and workplaces— due to COVID-19 present a real risk. This technology will provide cleaner and more breathable air with lower energy and maintenance costs and virtually silent sound levels.”

Active air filters made with LIG are designed to damage and destroy organic particles including bacteria, mold spores and viruses at the micron and sub-micron levels when passed through a microscopic network of porous graphene.

This cost-effective and scalable approach is produced using commercially available CO2 lasers to create a conductive graphene mesh. The graphene mesh heats, electrocutes and neutralizes organic particles and pathogens with revolutionary efficiency compared to active carbon filters, UV-C and fiber HEPA filters that are used widely in schools, offices, homes, ships, and other facilities. Aircraft are already equipped with HEPA filters that remove viruses and bacteria from the circulated cabin air, but at high energy and maintenance costs.

Since the LIGC filter uses low voltage electricity to eliminate bacteria and viruses, lower density filtration media can be used, resulting in significantly less energy consumption. In addition, LIGC active filters require lower maintenance than other filters and are safe for the operator during maintenance and replacement.

“To understand the technology, imagine the porous graphene is an electric fence that functions like a mosquito zapper at the submicron level,” Bornstein says. “When an airborne bacteria or virus touches the graphene surface, it is shocked at a low voltage and currents that are safe for use. While 2020 has highlighted the importance of protecting against airborne viruses, the post-pandemic world will likely show us how important it is to do so without increasing energy costs past the point of affordability.”

Tags:  air filtration  Ben-Gurion University  Chris Arnusch  COVID-19  Graphene  Healthcare  LIGC Application  Rice University  Yehuda Borenstein 

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