Principle of Photo-Catalytic Oxidation


Chemistry scientists from the University of Colorado and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado conducted an experiment testing the effectiveness of photocatalytic oxidation against harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde and other known carcinogens). They found that destruction of these contaminates was nearly 100%.


Scientists working on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy found that photocatalytic oxidation air purification may be beneficial for the large-scale treatment of air in occupied buildings, while conserving energy costs. This is due to the fact that this technology destroyed VOC chemicals at a significant rate, even at high air flow rates. Their study indicated that photocatalytic oxidation could provide as much VOC removal by itself as compared to the expensive process of introducing outdoor air into the indoor environment, drastically reducing the need to channel outdoor air inside.


In another study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy, scientists found that photocatalytic oxidation converted more than 95% of harmful VOC chemicals to harmless carbon dioxide and water molecules.

PCO (Photo Catalytic Oxidation) Nano-Technology
How TiO2 UV Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO) Works

Photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) is achieved when you combine UV light rays with a TiO2 coated filter. TiO2 refers to Titanium Oxide. This process creates hydroxyl radicals and super-oxide ions, which are highly reactive electrons. These highly reactive electrons aggressively combine with other elements in the air, such as bacteria and VOCs. VOC is an acronym for Volatile Organic Compounds, which include harmful pollutants such as formaldehyde, ammonia and many other common contaminates released by building materials and household cleaners generally found in the home. Once bound together, the chemical reaction takes place between the super-charged ion and the pollutant, effectively “oxidizing” (or burning) the pollutant. This breaks the pollutant down into harmless carbon dioxide and water molecules, making the air more purified.

Photo Catalytic Oxidation (PCO) is an advanced process by which volatile organic compounds (VOCs), bacteria, mold and fungus is destroyed by incorporating photon and ultraviolet (UV) energy activating a catalyst creating photo catalytic oxidation (PCO). PCO is produced by the air being exposed to photon light and passing through a catalyst comprised of specific nano-sized mineral compounds. After exposure and upon entering an area, three specific free radicals are released which destroys the bioaerosols (bacteria, molds, and fungus). During the process, hydrogen peroxide, hydroxyl radicals, and hydroxides attach themselves to specific organisms and kill them.The process of producing PCO is directly linked to the efficacy of the results. The advantage of this specific technology is a higher yield of free radicals which occurs due to the exposure of catalytic compounds. If low levels of PCO are introduced into a room, this would be effective in removing odors caused by organic elements, smoke, fungi, and bacteria. When the levels of PCO are increased, it would only produce a greater benefit. This would be appropriate in such places as homes with smoke damage or high levels of microbial contamination. This would also be useful in automobiles with tobacco or musty odors.The introduction of PCO into an environment would be to destroy the microbial contaminants. Another aspect of using PCO is that it is successful at killing pathogens organisms. There are various types of microbial spores that can be treated, but it is also an advantage that advancement in this technology now makes it possible to use PCO as a defense against specific organisms that may threaten the general population when used by radical organizations. PCO Technology can be used with-out causing any disruptions. Free standing units are not very noticeable. They can sit in a bookshelf or on a table. They can be placed into the air duct system for even distribution in your airspace. PCO is used every day to kill microbial contaminants and keep your environment healthy. People today want to be safe where they work and live. PCO technology helps to confirm their concerns.

Want more information on Indoor Air Quality?

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EPA Mold Resources Info Page
EPA Apartment Owners guidelines for dealing with mold
Other PCO / Photocatalytic Oxidation Articles