Installing Far-UVC at White Rose Park: An Interview with Co-Founder Jamie
Jamie Moore, co-founder and Chief Technical Officer at Moore MedTech, tells us about the pioneering Far-UVC trial that is taking place at White Rose Park in Leeds.
Tell us about the trial happening at White Rose Park in Leeds
"In late 2020, we secured a grant from UKRI to investigate Far-UVC and its effectiveness and put together a trial to see what efficacy customers could look to expect if they were to deliver Far-UVC in a public space. The current research tells us that Far-UVC is effective at destroying almost 100% of any pathogen, whether it be a virus or bacteria. The science shows it will kill just about anything. What we don’t know, however, is what that efficacy will be like in an environment where people are moving around and disrupting the air flow. Our aim is to demonstrate the power of Far-UVC in a real-life setting rather than observing the results in a controlled environment."
Who are your partners for the trial and how will their Far-UVC solutions differ?
"We are working with two partners situated in White Rose Park in Leeds to install Far-UVC and measure its effectiveness. One of our partners is Starbucks, a busy coffee shop where there is a big mixture of people coming from different places and interacting with each other. Our other partner is Dazn, a broadcast company. This environment will be very different as they have a 24 hour facility where the same people utilise the space in two lots of 12 hour shift patterns. The two environments are very different, allowing us to demonstrate the benefit of Far-UVC in a wide range of settings.
The delivery of Far-UVC in these environments will be slightly different. In the Dazn office space, we are looking to install a number of downlights to disinfect the air and workspaces that people use to ensure that when staff change over, there are no residual viral or bacterial pathogens on the equipment they use. In Starbucks, we are placing downlights in the areas that customers will utilise most in their journey through the coffee shop e.g., where customers are purchasing and waiting for food and drink and where they are sitting down to enjoy it. We are also putting in an additional bespoke Far-UVC solution into the HVAC system so that all the air that comes in, whether recycled or partially recycled, is also disinfected so that no viral load is being passed throughout the building. The install is due to take place in the next couple of days."
What results are you expecting to see?
"There are trials that have taken place in Scotland where scientists have taken a room around the size of a small boardroom or dentist surgery and introduced pathogens including influenza and COVID into the air. The results show that Far-UVC destroyed 60-92% of pathogens in the environment. Of course, this was an experiment and not indicative of real life where there would be people in the rooms and other factors disrupting the flow of air. If we can demonstrate a reduction in pathogens of anywhere near these figures in a place where people are moving around and interacting, it would be a tremendous result. I think anything above 40% will demonstrate a real benefit to businesses not only to make the workplace safer, but also to significantly reduce absenteeism rates."
Where else can Far-UVC be applied?
"Its benefit is anywhere people are sharing spaces. It belongs in places like care homes, office facilities, medical care facilities and hospitals, schools, sports venues, gyms etc.
What will stop it from being introduced everywhere immediately is that it is still a new technology and therefore it is expensive to implement. Whilst it will become ubiquitous over time, initially you will find the technology in environments where there is the greatest risk. E.g., you won’t find it covering every square inch of an office building, but you will find it in places where people congregate such as reception areas, kitchens, meeting rooms and so on."
How can we be sure that Far-UVC is safe?
"For this, you’ve got to consider both the science and the current safety regulations. The science is unequivocal. There is no doubt in any of the scientific minds that the technology is 100% safe.
The government regulations regarding Far-UVC have been in place for the past 30 years and are outdated. In the UK and Europe, the maximum level of Far-UVC exposure is 23mJ/cm2. In the US, a country with widespread adoption of Far-UVC, the safety guidelines have been increased significantly, permitting a much higher exposure to Far-UVC light at 222nm. We expect the European regulations to increase in the coming months to reflect the changes that have taken place in the US. As more installs occur and more data is gathered, the regulations will continue to rise until a point where there will be no need to increase the strength of the light because it will already be destroying pathogens in fractions of a second.
Scientists are demonstrating the safety of Far-UVC and the regulations continue to back up that information."
With lots of new products coming onto the market, how will consumers be able to tell a safe, high quality product from a poor quality product?
"Not all Far-UVC products are made equally. Some products which might be less expensive do not follow the guidelines as robustly. Consumers will very quickly need to become aware of what guidelines a product should be following, and what to look out for when they are purchasing Far-UVC solutions.
My advice to consumers seeking a Far-UVC product in the UK is to first look out for the CE or CA mark which will tell you whether the electrical safety of the product is good. Then, you should look to see where the bulbs have been tested. For example, our bulbs have been tested by Public Health England which guarantees that the lights are emitting filtered Far-UVC and are not exceeding the safe limit. They should also look out for what regulations products are in line with – in the UK that is ISO15858 and in the US it is ACGIH. If consumers are looking out for the right logos and guidelines, they will give an indication of a good product straight away."
Thanks for reading!