PCI Technology For Cleaner Indoor Building Air Awarded EPA SBIR Phase I Grant

July 14, 2014

(North Haven, CT) Precision Combustion Inc. (PCI) announced today that it has been awarded a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) SBIR Phase I Grant to develop a regenerable Indoor Air Filter for VOC and other gaseous pollutant removal.

The quality of indoor air varies substantially. Most modern buildings including homes maintain indoor air with a combination of particulate filters and make-up air. The filters remove particulates while newly drawn in outdoor air (“make-up air”) replaces indoor air that is exhausted from the building through ventilation, leaks and/or combustion processes. Particulate filters alone are ineffective in removing gaseous pollutants (such as formaldehyde, benzene, most odors, other organics and ammonia) or CO2.

As a result, make-up air is the primary approach to controlling gaseous pollutants, essentially through diluting the pollutants. Make-up air is also ineffective to the extent the outdoor air is polluted. Adequate clean makeup air is critical to keeping gaseous pollutants below desired thresholds to ensure a healthy and comfortable indoor environment. In some cases, uniform building codes do not assure clean indoor air or adequate ventilation (a common cause of sick building syndrome), and in other cases more outside air than necessary is introduced resulting in energy costs as makeup air has to be heated or cooled and humidified or dehumidified. Treating make-up air is a primary energy cost for modern buildings.

Some buildings are now using carbon beds or other fixed bed filters to reduce indoor gaseous pollutants, but these are not effective with all pollutants, they are expensive to replace (and may be considered hazardous material), and if not replaced upon saturation they become ineffective.

Adapting PCI technology originally developed for NASA’s spacecraft and space station trace contaminant and CO2 control systems, PCI’s compact regenerable gaseous pollutant air filter will efficiently remove gaseous pollutants from indoor air while reducing the requirement for makeup air and lowering building operating costs. The technology will enable indoor air to be cleaned more reliably and less expensively than with current technology.

In Phase I PCI will prove the concept for the innovation by demonstrating an effective prototype. This unit will be designed for retrofit integration into existing HVAC/filtration systems. This technology will subsequently be extended to a broader spectrum of chemical contaminants from industrial processes. PCI will collaborate with HVAC equipment OEMs and specialty chemicals manufacturers in its efforts to develop systems for protecting indoor air quality in commercial and residential spaces.

Precision Combustion, Inc. is a clean energy technology company developing and manufacturing catalytic devices and systems for energy sector applications.  To learn more, visit precision-combustion.com.

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