Contaminated air from the cooling towers that topmost large buildings are not a new problem, but the focus on clean air in outdoor as well as indoor spaces has new urgency in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Cooling towers often use local water sources for their evaporative cooling processes that may be untreated or poorly treated and therefore contaminated. Bacteria and other contaminants not only escape into the air, but they also reduce the efficiency of the tower. To make matters worse, companies may add chemicals such as sulfur dioxide and chlorine to the water in order to soften the minerals and kill bacteria. However, some of these chemicals, as well as the bacteria, find their way into the air.
In particular, these cooling towers can serve as superspreaders for the potentially deadly Legionella bacteria.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 84 per cent of cooling towers in the United States have tested positive for Legionella bacteria, and Legionnaires' disease cases have nearly quadrupled between 2000 and 2015.
The answer to reducing this deadly disease may lie in a novel, chemical-free technology, the Plasma Disinfection System (PDS), from Reverse Ionizer, LLC, which uses high-temperature plasma streamers, ultraviolet rays, and ozone to reduce the impact of air- and water-borne bacteria and viruses that can spread in public spaces through the cooling towers.
"For decades, people have unknowingly been walking through what is called 'cooling tower drift,' which is mostly an unseen street-level cloud of chemicals, bacteria and other potentially harmful water vapour," says Reverse Ionizer CEO Patrick Hughes.
"The PDS discovery will transform how to manage and operate buildings throughout the globe by providing a continuous treatment that has never been applied to water systems and help mitigate the risk of building owners," he explains. "It couldn't come at a better time, as the novel coronavirus has put a spotlight on the water and air people breathe in public spaces," he adds.
Reverse Ionizer's patented, chemical-free technology not only helps control bacteria with an environmentally-friendly PDS system, but it also helps companies save money and improve air quality by improving the efficiency of cooling towers.
The Electro-Magnetic Solution uses radiofrequency to constantly soften scale buildup in cooling towers, which helps companies cut costs by reducing the need for expensive chemical additives.