A high level of hygiene is an absolute necessity in the food industry, so technologies that create the right conditions for clean food production are of the greatest importance. Air is the main carrier of mould, bacteria and odours, so the required level of hygiene is achieved by purifying the air.
Air handling units: a not entirely effective and costly solution
The traditional solution to ensure the right levels of hygiene in the food industry is to provide abundant ventilation, cleaning the air with large air handling units. This approach generally has two major drawbacks: it uses up vast amounts of energy and it does not remove all the fungi, bacteria and odours.
Ionisation: a highly effective air cleaner
But there is another, much more efficient and cost-effective solution to purify the air: ionisation. How does it work? Oxygen ions are charged oxygen particles that have the ability to break down pollutants, particulates and volatile organic compounds in the air, and inhibit the growth of fungi and bacteria. By introducing into a space the exact quantity of ions required to clean the air it contains, the ions will react with the air, break down pollutants and prevent fungi and bacteria from entering the space. The result: clean air, guaranteeing maximum possible hygiene.
Ionisation: a low energy solution
The added advantage of ionisation is its exceptional energy efficiency: it only uses about 80W per 10,000 m3 of air per hour, about the same consumption as a light bulb!
To good to be true? No, Colt put it in practice at Bavaria brewery!
If you think this sounds too good to be true, we can put your mind at rest: we applied the technique at Dutch brewery Bavaria and the results speak for themselves.
The brewery stores its beer in big tanks housed in four buildings at its facility in Lieshout, where condensation is an issue because, when mixed with air coming from outside, it turns the buildings into a fertile breeding ground for mould and fungi.
The Colt team came up with the solution of using convection cooling to prevent mould and fungus through ionisation of air by the plasma modules. The ionised air and the convection cooling prevent or neutralise the mould and/or fungi: an Ionair® system used produces bipolar oxygen molecules that oxidise or neutralise contaminants, odours, mould and so on, keeping the air clean. The air is continuously pushed through the ionisation modules and spread through special nozzles.
The solution has very low energy consumption, and an active fungicidal function, it is safe and requires a smaller initial investment and few structural modifications to the building. And you don’t have to take our word for it, as the validity of our unconventional solution and its good performance has been validated by an independent consultant.
Other applications for ionisation
If you are intrigued by the possibilities of ionisation, you can read our previous blog about using ionisation to neutralise bad smells at an organic waste recycling facility.
Or contact us to find out more.
Laurence Cockman is a Senior Consultant for Colt UK and specialises in the design and product application of energy efficient HVAC systems.