In the fight against covid-19, one of the pieces of advice is to avoid elevators as much as possible, because the virus can circulate freely in them, with little air flow and ventilation. A Dutch engineering firm and a company specialised in air treatment have now developed a system to continuously refresh the air in elevators in order to reduce the risk of infection.
Long queues at the elevators
Infections with the SARS-CoV-2 virus occur mainly through the inhalation of aerosols and moisture particles containing the virus. The risk of infection is highest in small, enclosed spaces with little ventilation. This includes elevators, and because no more than two people can take the elevator at the same time, long queues can occur in flat and office buildings at certain times.
In their search for a solution to this problem, the engineering firm ABT and the company Interland Techniek did not have to look far. In order to keep operating theatres sterile, a climate control system forces clean air down from the ceiling. At the same time, the overpressure ensures that all air and particles are pushed down to the floor, where equipment extracts this air from the operating theatre to refresh it. They decided to design something similar, but for use in an elevator. After four months, both companies had a solution ready. Their system cleans the air and, through the air flow from the ceiling, prevents the transfer of large and smaller droplets from person to person. The extracted air passes through a HEPA filter, like those used in operating theatres.
In the meantime, the engineering firm ABT has applied for a patent and research has been carried out at the University of Amsterdam into the behaviour of the aerosols in the 'Eleminair' system. The conclusion of the study is clear: "The air treatment system significantly reduces the risk of corona contamination by aerosols". Furthermore, it is easy to adapt existing elevators. Both companies have received many requests and have also won the Vernufteling prize, the most prestigious engineering award in the Netherlands.