Warangal Urban: Disinfecting vegetables, fruits, milk packets, currency notes and other household articles has become a tough task as they are suspected to be carriers of the novel coronavirus. And much to the dismay of the people, there are no specific means or devices that can make vegetables and other products free from the virus.
To address this issue, Dr D Haranath, an Associate Professor with Department of Physics, National Institute of Technology (NIT), Warangal, along with research scholar P Chandar Rao developed a multi-purpose, chemical-free and eco-friendly sterilisation system named ‘OzoNIT’.
Using the system, which resembles a refrigerator, one can easily disinfect vegetables, fruits, packed food, milk packets, masks, clothes, wallet, currency notes, watches, cell phones, ornaments, shoes, handbags, newspaper, parcels, etc, in one go.
“With a click of a button, the device produces 500 mg of ozone gas in an hour from ambient air. Exposure of these articles under ozone gas for about 25 minutes will kill all types of viruses, fungi and bacteria up to 99.99 per cent without the use of any sterilising chemicals. Once the articles are being sanitised, the ozone is vented out automatically,” Dr Haranath told Telangana Today, and added that the design of the chamber is made such that no leakage of the ozone gas takes place while it is being operated.
“There exist many ultraviolet-C (UV-C) light-based systems in the market and can disinfect the surfaces where the radiation falls. However, they cannot disinfect the surfaces where there is shadow of the articles. Either the articles have to be moved in all possible directions or the design of the cabinet should be such that UV-C light falls from all directions. This limitation is overcome by OzoNIT as the ozone gas produced moves all around the corners of the chamber killing the lethal viruses, fungi and bacteria,” Dr Haranath said.
According to Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA, Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PsA) – a vegetative bacteria, is also equally dangerous as that of medium-sized virus such as SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) that could easily be disinfected and effectively killed by ozone gas.
Dr Haramath said that he had incurred around Rs 5,000 to make the device using an unused refrigerator cabinet and added that it may be sold at Rs 2,500 if it is produced in massive scale. “However, the price depends on the size of the cabinet. Several companies and individuals are consulting me to make an agreement to produce it on a large scale and release it in the market. The device I designed consumes only 15 watts of power to run it for about half an hour,” he added.
Meanwhile, Prof NV Ramana Rao, Director, NIT Warangal, said that ‘OzoNIT’ was much powerful, effective and superior to all UV-C-based contemporary units available in the market in making articles virus-free.
“After the ozone treatment, the vegetables and fruits could be cooked/consumed fearlessly ensuring thorough cleaning under tap water. There is no change in their quality and taste,” added the Director. Further, he emphasised that OzoNIT should become a part of every family, office and educational institution for their daily requirement of disinfection,” he said and added that NITW would launch this product in the market soon through proper mechanism and investors.
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