A Novel, Aerodynamics-augmented Continuous Ionization System for Electrostatic Collection of Bioaerosols

Period of Performance: 01/15/2014 - 01/15/2015

$491K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

CFD Research Corp.
701 McMillian Way NW Suite D
Huntsville, AL 35806
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Safe and efficient ionization and filtration technology compatible to biodefense applications is of paramount importance. Current ionization methods are energy-intensive, costly, prone to ozone generation, or inefficient, and consequently ill-suited for building protection applications. To overcome these limitations, we propose to develop and demonstrate a novel bioaerosol ionization and collection system for autonomous, round-the-clock air filtration and critical infrastructure protection. The proposed device harnesses advanced aerodynamics-augmented ionizer design and electrode optimization to enable significant improvement in throughput, ionization efficiency, ozone generation, and maintenance requirements and operating cost. In Phase I, key technology concepts were successfully demonstrated. Several ionizer design concepts (electrospray and bipolar ionization) were assessed using physics-based simulations, followed by state-of-the-art fabrication and engineering. Experimental testing and characterization were undertaken to demonstrate salient performance and establish proof-of-principle of the proposed technology. In Phase II, efforts will focus on design optimization, extensive experimental characterization for enhanced performance (e.g., energy consumption, collection efficiency), ease of operation, maintenance requirements, and manufacturability. The most promising ionization and collection mechanisms will be down-selected to develop a pilot-scale prototype. The prototype will be extensively demonstrated for filtering surrogate bioaerosols in a variety of operating conditions (temperature, humidity levels, particle loading etc.) at throughputs up to 2,000 CFM. A multi-disciplinary team with experience in all aspects of the proposed effort including electrostatics, microbiology, modeling and design, prototype fabrication and experimentation, systems engineering, and biodefense has been assembled to ensure successful completion of project milestones.