ASHRAE Investigates PCO to Improve Understanding

October 1, 2007
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ATLANTA - Air-cleaning equipment featuring new photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) technology is used to remove contaminants from indoor and outdoor air. Questions, however, have risen as to whether or not this technology is also introducing chemicals into the air. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers’ (ASHRAE’s) Research Project (RP) 1457, By-Product Production from Photocatalytic Oxidation Associated with Indoor Air Cleaning Devices will provide a method for analyzing byproducts from PCO air-cleaning devices in an effort to improve the general understanding of the technology.

The $124,889 project was awarded to the University of Wisconsin and is expected to take two years to complete. The research will investigate a variety of stand-alone and in-duct air cleaners using PCO technology, challenging them with several airborne contaminants to identify the chemicals released.

“This research will lead to a new generation of air cleaners that have both low-energy operation and low release of chemicals,” said Carolyn Kerr, a member of ASHRAE Technical Committee 2.3, Gaseous Air Contaminants and Gas Contaminant Removal Equipment, which is overseeing the project. “This will assist in providing an optimal indoor environment for buildings, vehicles, and facilities for comfort, health, and productivity of occupants.”

Other projects awarded are:

Modeling Low Velocity Large Scale Fluctuating Flows in Ventilated Spaces at Transitional Reynolds Numbers, RP-1271.

Particle Counter Specification for Use with Filter Performance Test Standard ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 52.2-1999, RP-1287.

Modeling VOC Sorption of Building Materials and Its Impact on Indoor Air Quality - Phase II, RP-1321.

Stability and Accuracy of VAV Box Control at Low Flows, RP-1353.

Method of Test to Evaluate Field Performance of Commercial Kitchen Ventilation Systems, RP-1376.

Recommendations Based on Field Testing and Analysis of High-Altitude Installations of Gas-Fired Boilers and Water Heaters, RP-1388.

Study of Carbon Dioxide Condensation in Chevron Angle Plate Geometry Exchanger, RP-1394.

Comparison of Vertical Display Cases, RP-1402.

Experimental Evaluation of Two-Phase Pressure Drops and Flow Patterns in U-Bends for R-134a, R-410A, and Ammonia, RP-1444.

Experimental Validation of Modeling Tools for Mixed-Gas Refrigeration Cycles, RP-1472.

Development of Typical-Year Weather Files from the ISH Database of Historical Weather Data from 2,500 International Locations, RP-1477.

For more information, visit

Publication date: 10/01/2007

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