NEEDLE POINT IONIZATION VS DIELECTRIC BARRIER DISCHARGE BIPOLAR IONIZATION
The Covid-19 virus has increased public interest in bipolar ionization technology and indoor air quality. Unfortunately, the information on the streets (internet) makes it seem that all ionizers are the same and their effectiveness in combating the Coronavirus is similar.
These statements could not be further from the truth. In an effort to highlight the differences in technology and performance below is a short and long description detailing the differences between Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization (NPBI) and Dielectric Barrier Discharge Ionization by Varionix (DBD).
The short version:
-NPBI is not an active air cleaning technology. The air must be circulated and pass through the plasma field (a maximum of 6” from the needle) generated by the needlepoint ionizer to have any effect. NPBI does not generate bipolar cluster ions. Instead, NPBI generates negative and positive ions separately, in large quantities, and hope that they live long enough to create a bipolar cluster. Due to the very short life span of these small ions they only live a couple of seconds minimizing their effectiveness.
-Dielectric Barrier Discharge, DBD (by Varionix) generates negatively and positively charged ion clusters, where the water molecules in the air bond around the O2- oxygen molecule. These cluster ions are quite robust and have an average lifetime of two to three minutes. When applied properly the cluster ions work actively in the room air instead of only in the close proximity to the device. With an occupied zone filled with bipolar cluster ions (around 800 to 1,200 ions/cm3) they decontaminate the air of microbes, including SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19, influenza virus, molds, bacteria, pollen and allergens from the air, at its source, without any need to circulate the air through filters, UV light nor the needlepoint ionizer’s plasma field.
The extended/advanced version:
Cluster ions and air contaminants
Cluster ions have strong deodorant and bactericidal properties. Moving with air currents around the room, they neutralize pathogen microorganisms in the air and on surfaces like walls, ceilings, equipment, furniture, and other objects. Thus, true bipolar ionization not only actively cleans the air, but also the surfaces in the room.
These highly reactive intermediates, cluster ions, lead to an immediate oxidation and destruction of organic compounds. The energy content in non-thermal plasma corresponds to an extremely hot gas; however, the actual temperature of the plasma is only marginally increased. This makes it possible to change volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as hydrocarbons to carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O). Other compounds in the air such as NH3, H2S and other can be eliminated as well.
Interaction of positively and negatively charged cluster ions destroy pathogen microorganisms such as fungi and mold spores, bacteria and viruses.
The positive H+ (H2O)n and negative O2-(H2O)m cluster ions surround the surface proteins of the virus and form highly reactive hydroxyl radicals (OH). These radicals destroy the virus’ surface structure (e.g. its envelopes and spikes) on a molecular level and make the virus defective (deactivate the virus). The hydroxyl radicals (OH) destroy the surface membrane proteins of the mold or bacteria causing malfunction of the cell membrane leading to death of the microbe.
Varionix bipolar ionization device
Varionix air purification system’s bipolar ionization tube creates a tightly controlled corona discharge (DBD) in the form of the non-thermal unstable gas plasma. The ions generated by Varionix devices belong to mainly small and middle-sized ions. The DBD ion generation (cluster ions) avoid the high particle deposition, a spontaneous attachment of particles to surfaces or “Brown Wall Syndrome”. Brown Wall Syndrome is one of the issues with needlepoint ionization technology.
Needlepoint ionizers are operated with a direct current (DC) and typically generate unipolar (negative or positive) ions only. Some technologies use needlepoint ionization to generate separately both negative and positive ions. This technology is called Needlepoint Bi-Polar Ionization (NPBI) and is different to DBD.
The voltage required to trigger corona discharge is much higher in needle point ionization than in the Varionix ionization tubes. Due to the unipolarity of the generated ions and the high voltage applied in the needle point ionizers, large particles are charged instead of small molecules, thus NPBI technology cannot generate cluster ions as effectively, nor destroy viruses as fast or efficiently.
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