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Staff Accomplishments

Moved to Market: Micro Aerosol Disinfecting System

New technology that kills pathogens with a fine, salty mist was awarded with an Excellence in Technology Transfer award

February 2016
Evguenia Rainina
Microbiologist Evguenia Rainina served as the lead researcher on the project.

A microbial disinfecting system that kills with an activated salt spray is one of the latest innovations PNNL has successfully commercialized with the help of business partners. The technology—dubbed the Micro Aerosol Disinfecting System—was acknowledged with a 2016 Excellence in Technology Transfer award.

The team recognized for transferring this process includes: PNNL's Evguenia Rainina, Ron Thomas and Derek Maughan, as well as Watertech's Glenn Barrett, Keith Johnson, and Eric Frische. Additional PNNL researchers on the engineering team include Sharon Bailey, Carl Baker, Patrick Valdez, and Mike Watts (retired).

The Technology

Tests have shown the system can kill at least 99.9999 percent of health-harming microbes. It could be used to disinfect hospitals, gymnasiums, schools and other enclosed spaces. Many microbe-caused ailments—ranging from staph infections to Ebola—can now be prevented with the Micro Aerosol Disinfecting System.

Watertech Equipment and Sales LLC developed this initial prototype of the Micro Aerosol Disinfecting System.
Image courtesy of Watertech Equipment and Sales LLC

It works by running an electrical current through a diluted salt solution, which creates super-reactive molecules, ions, and free radicals that have exceptionally strong disinfecting properties. A device then turns the activated solution into a micro aerosol mist, which is released into a room. The aerosol's microscopic droplets disinfect the air and every surface. Its activated molecules destroy microbes inside a treated room within minutes to a few hours, depending on a room's size and the amount of pathogens present.

The Partner

Watertech Equipment and Sales LLC of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, licensed the Micro Aerosol Disinfecting System from PNNL. PNNL initially developed a prototype of the technology through a now-concluded DOE program that supported former weapons scientists in non-weapons research and development across the former Soviet Union. The technology was further developed with internal PNNL funding and support from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, which attracted Watertech's attention.

The award recognizes PNNL's extensive development and testing of the technology using internal funding to advance the technology to the point that Watertech licensed the technology just eight months after initially visiting with PNNL.

Watertech has adapted the system into an easy-to-deploy product to be sold for various uses, including hospital and clinical disinfection, mold remediation, and supporting the agricultural and food processing industries.

For more information, read the PNNL News Release.

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