Destruction of chemical and biological weapons through high efficiency photoelectrochemical oxidation (PECO) air purification process

P. D. Myers and D. Y. Goswami
Molekule, Inc., Florida, United States

Keywords: Chemical, biological, air purification, photocatalysis

Molekule has developed a new high efficiency air treatment technology with applicability to the removal of chemical and biological weapons in contaminated air. The process, known as photoelectrochemial oxidation (PECO), has been proven feasible at the removal of biological pathogens and chemical agents. For instance, the technology was shown to be effective in the destruction of the model organism, bacillus subtilis, suggesting its use as a countermeasure to weaponized bacillus anthracis (“anthrax”). Prior studies have also shown that chemical simulants for mustard gas (2-chloroethyl ethyl sulfide, 2-CEES) and sarin gas (dimethyl methylphosphonate, DMMP) are broken down to less harmful constituents through a similar process. PECO is an improvement to conventional photocatalytic oxidation, in that it has the added benefit of higher efficiency due to minimization of electron-hole recombination. The basic process involves generation of highly reactive free radical species on the surface of a nanostructured filtration medium. These species then oxidize biological and organic chemical contaminants, generating predominately CO2 and H2O in the process.