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Everything You Need to Know about Photo Catalytic Oxidation Technology (Part 1)

Updated on June 15, 2014
Photo Catalytic Oxidation (PCO) is effective at killing bacteria.  This is why it is so popular in air purification as a germicidal agent and for oxidizing gases in the air.
Photo Catalytic Oxidation (PCO) is effective at killing bacteria. This is why it is so popular in air purification as a germicidal agent and for oxidizing gases in the air.

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Photo Catalytic Oxidation (PCO)

Photo-Catalytic Oxidation (PCO) is a process that combines UV light with a catalyst to oxidize some odors and gases in the air. PCO technology is capable of getting rid of almost all organic gases. PCO technology was originally pioneered by NASA to grow plants in space. They had to find ways to reduce gas concentrations that plants were putting off in the enclosed space environment so they could keep the space shuttle or station human friendly. They discovered that when they exposed UV light to a Titanium dioxide surface, the light would react with the metal, sending oxidizers into the air to destroy unwanted gases. That's the over-simplified explanation.

Basic Explanation of How Photo Catalytic Oxidation (PCO) Technology Works

Photo Catalytic Oxidation Used in Air Purification

PCO technology has become popularized in the air purification industry for its ability to oxidize unwanted gases in the air. Most PCO catalysts used by air purification companies are not worth the investment. These catalysts look like flat filters. The quality of PCO technology is directly related to the surface area of the catalyst. The greater the surface area, the greater the reactivity. The higher the reactivity, the more effective the technology is.

Radiant Catalytic Ionization (RCI, also called ActivePure Technology); The Most Effective PCO Technology

Radiant Catalytic Ionization (RCI)
Radiant Catalytic Ionization (RCI) | Source

Radiant Catalytic Ionization (RCI or ActivePure) the best Air Purification PCO technology

Radiant Catalytic Ionization (RCI) technology is currently the pinnacle of PCO technology in the market place today. You could call it the gold standard. RCI technology uses a honeycomb looking matrix to greatly expand the surface area of the catalyst. It also adds 3 other metals to the Tio2 catalyst. These other metals each have a distinct role in amplifying the catalyst's capabilities in specific ways.

Peer Reviewed Research on Radiant Catalytic Ionization (RCI) at Kansas State University (KSU)

Peer Reviewed Research on RCI technology showed conclusively that it is extremely effective at killing bacteria on surfaces. Kansas State University tested this technology on various vicious bacteria like ecoli, black mold, and MRSA. They found that the RCI technology would reduce the bacteria count by 99.9999% in some cases (between 98-100% in all cases) in as little as two hours. By contrast, ozone technology, which is also germicidal in high concentrations, takes much longer to get the same kill rate. The implications for PCO technology at large is that all PCO technology is germicidal by nature. Most PCO technology will be effective against bacteria on some level. But most companies offering PCO technology have not submitted their technology to rigorous testing and make generic claims based off the peer-reviewed studies done on RCI technology.

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Photo Hydro Ionization (PHI) Another form of Photo Catalytic Oxidation (PCO) Technology

PHI or photo-hydro-ionization is another form of PCO technology. It has a larger surface area than traditional PCO technology. But the surface area is smaller than the RCI technology. It also has 4 metals as part of the catalyst just like RCI technology does. PHI technology, like RCI, was originally developed by RGF Industries. Think of PCO technology as first generation, PHI technology as 2nd generation, and RCI technology as 3rd generation.

Photo Catalytic Oxidation (PCO) Technology is a Critical Process in Good Air Purification Technology

Regardless of whether you use PCO, PHI, or RCI technology, you will want to seriously consider making at least one of these forms of PCO technology a part of your air quality solutions. PCO technology (including PHI and RCI) fill a void in the air purification industry for addressing the issues of biological contamination and chemical gas pollution. They work best when combined with other air cleaning technologies that address odor and particle pollution.


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