Air is composed of several gases and tiny molecules. We are living because we breathe air. Though the air is invisible to the human eye, it is a vital thing on earth. Due to various natural man-made phenomena, the air gets polluted. It may result in several issues in the form of acid rain, smog, and global warming. Besides, it causes many hindrances to human health. We may experience respiratory problems, allergies, lung cancer, and so on due to this.
From ancient times, the usefulness of air is unconditional. Many inventions happened due to it. But in the modern era, the air gets contaminated and creates numerous health hazards. That is why technology comes to rescue us from this. Because of the global warming threat, technology helps manufacture safety products like the air filter and air conditioner. These electrical products are necessary for well-being. But they use a different filtration system to achieve their potential.
As a result, selecting a proper filtration system is a daunting task because there are many models present in the market. One of them is the photocatalytic filter. It uses a unique feature to offer healthy air quality. A photocatalytic filter applies ultraviolet light to kill the toxicants. That is why it is one of the most effective filtration technologies nowadays. So in this segment, we will be discussing the photocatalytic filter concept and its pros and cons.
What are photocatalytic filters in Air Conditioners and Air Purifiers?
Now you must be thinking, what is a photocatalytic filter? As the name suggests, photocatalytic filters make use of light to purify the air. Experts have talked about the possibilities of using light-based purification processes for a long time. A photocatalytic filter is that theory put into practice. Photocatalytic filters use light to get rid of the toxic elements present in the air. This process employs a catalyst that activates with light and oxidizes the pollutants in the air. It happens through chemical reactions that transform the toxic materials in the air into non-toxic substances. The photocatalytic filters make use of ultraviolet light to achieve their intended effect.
Now another question might arise. What is a catalyst? Well, a catalyst is a substance that helps in a chemical reaction. Usually, a chemical reaction needs a lot of energy to happen. But a catalyst significantly reduces power consumption. In other words, a catalyst helps a chemical event by giving it a head start. So, it is evident they are indispensable for any chemical compounding. A photocatalyst is a catalyst that uses light to help in the chemical reaction. These filters make use of these photocatalysts to purify the air.
How Does a Photocatalytic Filter Operate in Air Purifiers and ACs?
Now we are going to talk about how it works. As you might have guessed from the name, it involves light. Generally, the catalyst in photocatalytic filters is titanium dioxide. When it comes in contact with ultraviolet light, it gets energized. The energized titanium dioxide helps the chemical reaction to happen. Now, while ultraviolet rays can be harmful to our health, we cannot deny it contains a lot of energy. While the standard and visible light cannot excite titanium dioxide by itself, UV light can. And it is capable of doing so because it contains more energy than a standard light. Photocatalytic filters generally make use of UV-C, the more potent version of the UV rays. The filter consists of a thin plate of titanium dioxide over a base made of either ceramic or aluminium. One benefit of using titanium dioxide is that it is a semiconductor. Now we will discuss how they execute the chemical reaction.
First of all, UV light shines upon the titanium dioxide plate. It causes the titanium dioxide to remain energized and releases negatively charged electrons. These electrons do most of the necessary work for the reaction. The release of the electrons from the molecules creates positively charged spaces on the surface of the plate. The electrons then counter with the water molecules present in the air. It causes the creation of negatively charged hydroxyl ions. These negatively charged ions react with the positive blanks present on the plate’s surface and lose their negative charges.
This process leaves the ions with no charges, and they transform into hydroxyl radicals. Now, these hydroxyl radicals are one of the most effective reactors. They help in the oxidation process, which changes the toxic particles into non-toxic ones. The hydroxyl radicals can react with almost all kinds of molecules present in the air, and they break apart the harmful pollutants from the molecular level. It not only causes them to lose their toxicity, they undergo a complete molecular transformation, causing them to turn into something else entirely. The result is mostly harmless substances such as carbon dioxide and water. So, this is how the photocatalytic filters completely change the toxic pollutants into harmless substances.
Effectiveness of Photocatalytic Filters
It is now time to question their effectiveness. From what we have discussed before, you can see that the filters alter the pollutants at the molecular level. They are highly effective. These separate them from other standard filters from a fundamental standpoint. The ordinary air purifiers purify the air by separating the pollutants from the air itself. These pollutants stay inside the filter until they are removed. However, this process is irrelevant in photocatalytic filters. Their purification process transforms them completely, making it unnecessary to remove them. Their method leaves no pollutants unchecked. Therefore, these filters are highly effective in purification devices.
Some other benefits of these filters include their noise, or specifically, the lack of it. Due to the way they work, these filters produce very little noise. Furthermore, the filters do not need frequent maintenance. All you need to do is to replace the UV lamp after some years. On top of it all, they are extremely energy efficient, making them cost-effective as well.
Pros of Photocatalytic Filter
After all this discussion above, you might have some idea about the photocatalytic filter concept and its working principle. Now, it is time to review its pros or principal advantages. Like all the other filtration technologies, the photocatalytic filters also got an excellent reputation among the users. Below we have shared a few key benefits to prove why this filtration system is efficient.
- The advanced photocatalytic filters assist you in improving the air quality in several ways. They serve as principal technology to eradicate odors and toxic contaminants that can affect health.
- These filters directly attack the viruses, mold, and several other bacteria in the surfaces or the air.
- A photocatalytic filter can destroy organic contaminants like volatile organic compounds or VOC, exhaust fumes, and many more.
- It diminishes the pollutants. A photocatalytic filter never catches the exact form of the contaminants. They transform them into water and carbon dioxide and change their toxic particles. As a result, they eliminate those toxicants.
- It uses ultraviolet radiation in the oxidation process. The UV light has added power compared to the standard light and can generate the required energy to facilitate the oxidation process and exclude the toxicants from the air.
- The photocatalytic filters are an expert in trapping the finest particles effectively.
- It significantly reduces energy consumption and operates quietly.
- These filters are valued for money as there are no maintenance costs. A user only needs to change the UV lamp once in 3 years to make it run effortlessly.
Cons of Photocatalytic Filter
After discussing its advantages, now it is time to check the cons or deficiencies also. Remember to always look for a filtration system that determines your good health. Though a photocatalytic filter has several benefits, it also has some principal drawbacks. While some are not fatal, others are dangerous. So, what are those? Let us take a glimpse at those deficiencies.
- The photocatalytic filter uses UV light to remove the molecules. But direct exposure to this may result in sunburn because of its excessive energy.
- The UV-C is a very potent band of UV light and produces ozone from oxygen. Now, while the ozone layer protects us from the harmful effects of UV rays, it is highly toxic. It is detrimental to not only humans but animals as well. Generally, manufacturers say that these filters produce ozone in fewer amounts. But it still doesn’t change the fact that they generate ozone. Extended exposure to it can cause serious health problems. Therefore, you should keep this in mind before buying a photocatalytic filtered air purifier or AC.
- The photocatalytic filters use catalysts. But they are not durable enough. As a result, they require frequent maintenance and decrease cost-effectiveness.
- These filters can take a long time to filter larger rooms due to the complex filtration process.
So, we can say that the photocatalytic filtration system is the future of electrical devices like air conditioners and air purifiers. It changes the technological progression rapidly. These filters are incredible in diminishing the toxicants from the air. Additionally, modern manufacturers implement this feature in place of other filtration technology to serve you better. You may take the brand Daikin for instance. The Daikin air conditioner models apply photocatalytic filtration technology to make them more reputable than the other filtration processes. So, do not waste time. Do some digging and purchase a suitable AC and air purifier to protect your health.
Sheena Behera knows the top to bottom when it comes to home appliances. She graduated from the Indian Institute of Science with Mechanical Engineering in the year 2011. She has spent a lot of time working with clientele who require safe and efficient electronic appliances. Her main task at apolloedoc, as an expert, is to provide an unbiased opinion on the safety, durability, and longevity of products we use at our homes daily.
She has ample experience in HVAC systems ((heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), and sets strict standards for what passes in her list. Sheena has been working with us since 2018 and has consistently provided our readers with the necessary information to make the right buying decision.
Playing badminton, keeping herself fit, and binge-watching series’ on Netflix are some of her favourite pastimes. She also enjoys flowing away in the stories of fictional books like Harry Potter and The Handmaid’s Tale. She has a chirpy, yet strong collaborative skills and works hand-in-hand with our other writing experts whenever required. Although her family is originally from Odisha, she has spent most of her childhood in Bangalore due to her father’s transfers.