What Is Photocatalytic Oxidation? A Look At The PCO ProcessDecember 13, 2022 2022-12-13 21:07
Table of Contents
Interested in getting more information?
Contact our team today and get a custom quote.
What Is Photocatalytic Oxidation? A Look At The PCO Process
Like many scientific terms, Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO) has a complicated name. It sounds like part of the famous Mary Poppins song Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. But as fun as super-photocatalytic-expi-oxidation is to say, it has nothing to do with dancing penguins (unless they need clean air). While the technology is getting more attention, the PCO process is more straightforward than the name implies.
Where does the PCO process start? Photons!
To start understanding what photocatalyst oxidation is, we need to understand what a photocatalyst is. So let’s break that down a little more. What is a photon, and what is a catalyst?
Photocatalyst = photon + catalyst
Many people think of photons as particles of light. That’s not entirely wrong, though it is a little oversimplified. Photons are “the smallest possible packets of electromagnetic energy,” Amanda Solliday and Kathryn Jepsen describe in an article for Symmetry Magazine.
Photons are everywhere. Your microwave? Photons. Wi-Fi? Photons. The light beams connecting your eyes to the dancing cartoon penguin on the screen? Just a giant river of photons. But what happens when you add a catalyst to the photon?
What is the photocatalyst of the PCO process?
Generally, we think of catalysts when it comes to our cars. A fuel catalyst helps you get more energy from the gas you use in your vehicle. That’s because the catalyst is a substance or process that boosts the speed of a chemical reaction.
A photocatalyst is one of those substances used to “convert solar energy into chemical energy.” They form when UVC irradiation (such as sunlight) interacts with titanium dioxide. This happens every day, all around us.
It keeps the fresh air outside fresh (when it isn’t overwhelmed by too many contaminants). The photocatalyst attaches to a pollutant and breaks it down into harmless materials, such as water and carbon dioxide. Afterward, the air is a lot cleaner.
What is photocatalytic oxidation?
Sure, the sun creates photocatalysts…outside. But, inside, we need the PCO process to manage air quality. Photocatalyst Oxidation technology pulls air into a cylinder of titled reflective plates and a UV lamp; the plates refract the UV light to create the photocatalyst ions we find in nature at a much faster and more numerous rate.
These ions exit the device and spread through an area, neutralizing almost most biological pollutants and mold spores in their path.. When these contaminants are transformed into harmless materials, you’re left with remarkably clean air and surfaces. That’s right; they can also work on surfaces since the ions attack pollutants that are present in the environment instead of trapping them in a filter.
So, in short, Photocatalyst Oxidation does what the sun does, only indoors and better—just kidding. We love the sun too.