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UV-C disinfection of the air

The sun as a role model

UV-C disinfection is effective against all types of germs such as bacteria, viruses, yeasts and fungi. The radiation, also known as ultraviolet light, is also found in solar radiation.

oxytec is a specialist in disinfection via UV-C and UV-ozone. We calculate and optimise disinfection systems based on UV technologies and supply modules that are precisely tailored to the area of application.

Areas of application for UV-C disinfection

Food production

Germination is the greatest danger in food production. UV-C air purifiers remove bacteria, yeasts, mould spores and even viruses from the air and thus prevent the contamination of products, packaging, production facilities and rooms. The use of chemicals and preservatives is thus reduced or avoided altogether. Sterilised air is also an essential contribution to occupational safety, because the risk of infection is significantly reduced.

UV-C is also used to sterilise surfaces such as product packaging, production equipment and packaging to avoid the use of chemicals on production equipment and preservatives in products. For some foods such as fruit, vegetables, lettuce, UV-C is ideal for air sterilisation to increase shelf life.

Cold rooms and storerooms in particular are extremely susceptible to germs and can be kept germ-free with UV-C light on the convectors.

Pharmaceutical industry

In the pharmaceutical industry, a germ-free working environment is crucial. This is especially true for the air. Appropriately dimensioned UV-C systems can keep the air germ-free and thus create ideal production conditions.


On large cruise ships, many people stay in rooms that have to be ventilated in a controlled manner. Germs can spread very quickly via the ventilation systems. This became particularly clear during the Corona epidemic. The warm, humid climate in the air ducts provides an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and viruses.

Our compact systems make the circulating air germ-free and can be installed directly in or on the ducts, even retrofitted. They make an important contribution to the protection of passengers and crew and at the same time safeguard business operations.

Healthy living

The air is an indispensable “food” that we breathe in and out of enclosed spaces and thus pass on from person to person. Thus, wherever people live and work indoors, germs are found in higher concentrations. Not only the corona viruses, but also many other germs infect through the air.

All germs spread via the air can be reduced or completely eliminated with UV-C technology, depending on the dimensioning of the system.

The disinfection of indoor air is thus an easy way to prevent infection in the workplace and reduce sick leave.

Mode of action: Disinfection with UV light

In 1878, the English researchers Downes and Blunt found out that microorganisms are strongly reduced when they are exposed to sunlight. In subsequent research, it was proven that the invisible part of solar radiation below a wavelength of 320 nm has a germicidal effect.

UV-C light can be used to remove germs from air, water and surfaces. Depending on the energy dose, even stubborn and tiny germs are neutralised. UV-C sterilisation covers all microorganisms in all stages of development.

Because UV-C light is harmless to larger organisms, UV devices can also be used very well in rooms where people or animals are present.

When dimensioning a UV-C disinfection system, different influencing factors such as air temperature, air humidity and air velocity must be taken into account. The design of UV-C systems therefore requires specialist knowledge, years of experience and the competence to carry out germ count measurements on site. However, disinfection does not achieve the degree of 100 % sterilisation.

Scientific background

Ultraviolet radiation has a shorter wavelength than the light visible to humans. Below the wavelength of 254 nm, depending on the irradiation dose, bacteria, fungi, mould spores and viruses decompose and their DNA is also destroyed, thus preventing further cell division. This also prevents the formation of resistances.

Empirical studies have shown that the reduction of germs results from the radiation time and its power. This factor is given as the product of mW x s/cm² (irradiation intensity x irradiation time per cm²).

Germs react differently to UV irradiation. Those with a high sensitivity to UV-C radiation can already be killed with a low energy dose, e.g. the coli bacterium, while influenza viruses, for example, can only be deactivated with very high-energy radiation. The germs found in food processing, especially yeasts, moulds and spores, require a much higher dose. The same applies to the inactivation of microorganisms in the medical field.

Disinfection with UV light in practice

Today, it is impossible to imagine life without air conditioning and ventilation systems. They have a permanent place in the working world, medical technology and the food industry. But germs, viruses and mould often find an ideal breeding ground for their growth here.

The consequences can be fatal: Significant reduction in the shelf life of food, the sick building syndrome in the workrooms and infections cost a lot of money and reduce the profitability of the business.

OXYTEC and the UV disinfection technology we have developed and installed significantly support the compliance of air conditioning and ventilation systems with the hygiene measures required by VDI Guideline 6022. The positive consequences are proven by numerous references.

When dimensioning a UV-C disinfection system, different influencing factors such as air temperature, air humidity and air velocity must be taken into account. The design of UV-C based disinfection systems requires years of experience. This also includes the ability to carry out germ count measurements on site.

oxytec was an early adopter of environmentally friendly and effective UV-C technology and has contributed significantly to its further development. Today, there are disinfection solutions for a very wide range of applications, right up to plug-in ozone disinfection systems including ozone control and ozone measuring head.

Advantages of UV-C disinfection

  • No use of chemicals
  • No formation of toxic compounds
  • No formation of resistance
  • Unwanted microorganisms become inactive within seconds, product properties remain unchanged.
  • High requirements of consumer protection and VDI 6022 as well as HACCP concepts are met.
  • Supports IFS certification
  • Low energy consumption

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