Tech Bundle

Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality (IAQ) maintenance has been a perennial topic in our urban society. With the COVID-19 pandemic compounding the need to improve the quality of air in our living and working spaces, there are opportunities for technological innovations to overcome this multi-faceted challenge. The Indoor Air Quality Tech Bundle features a curated list of technologies that enterprises can license or co-innovate with technology providers to create new products and services for the growing IAQ market. Enterprises can explore a range of solutions for reducing indoor air pollution, enhancing ventilation and air cleaning, controlling indoor temperature and humidity, as well as monitoring and testing, to address various needs along the IAQ value chain.

Printable Low-Powered and Cost Efficient Cold Plasma Technology
Plasma technology was originally developed for surface treatment to improve surface adhesion of polymers. Recent progress in plasma technology has made it possible to generate plasmas at room-temperature, which is known as non-thermal atmospheric plasma (NTP) or cold plasma. NTP has a unique capability to remove and inactivate bacteria with the absence of harmful residues. In addition, due to the low operating temperature (< 40 deg C), NTP can interact with organic materials without causing thermal damage to the cell surface, and can effectively inactivate different kinds of bacteria without adversely affecting the healthy tissues. However, the technical challenges in generating uniform plasma over non-flat surfaces makes its difficult for NTP to be considered as a reliable form of sterilization. The technology described herein is related to the development of a flexible, low-powered and cost-efficient NTP source by adapting screen printing method on a Dielectric Barrier Discharge (DBD) configuration. Using printing techniques, homogeneous non-thermal plasma can be generated over large and complex geometries with low energy cost. The technology provider is seeking for industry partners to commercialise the technology. 
Anti-viral Materials Containing Copper (I) Oxide and Visible-light Photocatalyst
Transmission of viruses may occur through contaminated surfaces, where viruses can remain active for varying periods of time, from hours to several days, on different materials. To lower the possibility of spread of infections through contact with high-touch surfaces such as elevator buttons, grocery carts and door knobs, antimicrobial materials such as silver and copper ions are currently utilised. However, these solutions face challenges such as low durability and longer time needed to inactivate viruses. To overcome these challenges, durable anti-viral materials containing Copper (I) Oxide (Cu2O) and visible-light photocatalyst are developed. These materials are demonstrated to be able to inactivate >99% of viruses within an hour, even in environments without light. Using patented dispersion techniques, the active Cu2O and visible-light photocatalyst materials remain as stable, nano-sized particles on the outermost surfaces of products that incorporate them. This provides a large reaction surface area for high performance and durable anti-viral property.
World’s Smallest Flow Sensor for Integration into Smart Systems
A European start-up company has developed the world's smallest gas flow sensor. The tiny 3.5 mm x 3.5 mm CMOS MEMS sensor is small enough to fit into virtually any product and can be positioned where measurements matter. Examples of use cases include: active filter monitoring in vacuum cleaners, air-conditioning units and other consumer appliances; pipe blockage detection in industrial and domestic gas-detection products and systems; air pump monitoring and control in both consumer and industrial applications; and portable healthcare equipment such as smart inhalers and fitness monitoring masks. Collaboration is sought with developers and manufacturers of smart home devices, building systems, wearables etc. Evaluation kits with fluidics fixtures are available for fast testing and application development.
Plasma Generator for Air Sanitisation
The technology developed herein is related to an plasma generator which generates reactive oxygen species to eliminate bacteria, viruses, harmful gases and odourous substances. Indoor environments, such as hospital rooms or livestock pens, can greatly benefit from the improved air quality to reduce the harm of diseases and pollution. Air sterilisers developed using the plasma generator can safely and effectively remove: Harmful gases such as ammonia, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acetic acid, toluene and volatile organic compounds Suspended bacteria that stick to dust or water vapour Viruses including influenza viruses (H2N2) and other toxic ultrafine infectious particles The technology has been applied in livestock farms to eliminate odours as well as maintaining the freshness of fresh produce. The technology provider is interested to seek collaborators who are keen to develop new applications for the plasma generator. The mode of collaboration could be licensing or joint research agreements. 
A Scalable and Adaptive Model-Predictive Distributed Control of Building HVAC Systems
This technology offers a novel model-predictive distributed control method and a flexible and cost effective IoT implementation architecture for energy saving in building HVAC systems. It is scalable and real-time optimally responsive to changes in a large building that has more than 500 zones via a patented token-based HVAC scheduling strategy. The larger the building, the higher the energy saving potential, due to its novel coordinated HVAC scheduling approach. It is autonomously adaptive to the building operational environment via effective system identification techniques, including machine learning techniques, on real-time data attainable from the proposed IoT infrastructure. It is also occupant-centric, i.e., capable of learning and addressing individual human comfort requirements. The technology is applicable to any new or old VAV (or VRV) HVAC system without any need of major retrofitting on existing HVAC controllers and data acquisition systems, due to its highly flexible plug-and-play implementation architecture. It can also be used to convert an old HVAC system into a highly automated and intelligent one, allowing a building owner to check remotely, via commonly used mobile devices, the status of the building HVAC system and initiate supervisory control for better performance, thus, can enhance the effectiveness of existing BMS and building automation. The technology provider is seeking for industry partners to commercialise the technology.          
Self-assembled Nanofibrous Air Filter
Air pollution poses serious health threats. Even limited exposure to air pollutants, such as during haze periods, can trigger respiratory symptoms and aggravate existing heart or lung conditions. While there is a strong need for economical and effective technologies for air filtration, most nanofibres currently used in air filters require intensive energy and specialised equipment to produce. The research team has developed a novel nanofibre solution for clean and fresh air. The novel nanofibre solution is applied to non-woven mesh to create thin, see-through air filters that can remove up to 90% of PM2.5 particles and achieve a high air flow that is 2.5 times better than conventional air filters. This nanofibre solutions is easy and quick to produce, offering a cost-effective alternative to currently available air filter solutions.
Acoustic-Aided Air Filter for Enhanced Filtration and Reduced Energy Consumption
Typically, buildings with centralised air-conditioning have one or more air filters in each of the air handling units. While air filtration plays an important role to improve indoor air quality, it requires a significant amount of energy consumption to achieve high filtration efficiency, which is the extent to which filters remove airborne particles. In a conventional air filter, energy consumption can account for up to 80% of the total lifecycle cost of operating the filter. Air filters generally remove smaller airborne particles with a lower level of filtration efficiency, and densely packed filter media is typically used to remove these very fine particles, which results in a high pressure drop across the filter. Air filters with densely packed fibre material, such as the High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter, are both costly and energy intensive. While efforts have been made to refine the structure of air filters to reduce the pressure drop, the physical limits of fluid mechanics means that there is a need for a technology that facilitates a further reduction of the pressure drop, especially in high efficiency air filters. This patented technology greatly enhances the air filter performance while reducing the energy consumption of the filtration process. It utilises acoustic energy to induce the rapid vibration of the particles in the air, which can enhance the filtration efficiency of an air filter from 70% to 90%.
Fast Dissolving Concentrate Tablet for Cost Efficient Hand and Surface Sanitisers
Extensive sanitation needs arising from COVID-19 are adding high costs to both businesses and consumers. Such costs are mostly related to the supply chain, and involve processing, transportation, and storage of dangerous substances. Furthermore, the packaging of finished sanitation products consumes large amounts of shelf space at the point of sale − not to mention the negative environmental impact of the packaging materials. To address these issues, fast dissolving concentrate tablets are developed based on a proprietary encapsulation technology. These fast-dissolving concentrated tablets can quickly transform water into an alcohol-free hand or surface sanitiser.
Stable, Plant-based Photoactive Antimicrobial Agent
Antimicrobial resistance developed due to the overuse of conventional antimicrobial agents in surface coatings and consumer products is a global concern for treatment of infectious diseases in recent years. To address this concern, US FDA has banned the use of a number of conventional antimicrobial agents in consumer and healthcare products such as hand soaps and hand sanitisers. This raises the importance of alternative antimicrobial agents in antiseptic products. Photoactive antimicrobial agents are effective alternatives which produce highly reactive oxygen species (ROS) when activated by light. These reactive oxygen species display broad-spectrum biocidal activity that destroy microbes by a multi-targeted killing mechanism, which may limit the development of antimicrobial tolerance or resistance. The researchers have developed a stabilised form of a plant-based antimicrobial agent to protect it from environmental degradation. The enhanced environmental stability of this natural photoactive antimicrobial agent has made it suitable to be incorporated in various materials for the self-sterilising product applications and may provide a “greener solution” to limit the spread of pathogens and transmission of infections by indirect contact.