Food Distribution Center, June 2018

The case

Controlling odors in the onion storage room at a food distribution center for a national grocery store chain.

The Problem

To prevent onion odors from contaminating fruits and vegetables stored in adjoining rooms, the onion storage room is kept at a negative pressure using a 3,000 cfm exhaust fans. The customer had two main objectives: 

1.To control the onion odors 

2.To reduce the amount of exhaust air to lower the associated cost of conditioning makeup air

Sanuvox Customized Solution

Sanuvox provided two IL30-X units that were installed upstream of the cooling coil in a 27,000 cfm air handler to photo-oxidize the onion odors.


Onion odors were dramatically reduced, and exhaust air lowered by 40% to 1,800 cfm. Energy savings from the reduction in exhaust air is equivalent to 3 tons of cooling.

Oxford Property, 2017

The case

Removing sewage and wastewater odors from Oxford property in Toronto. 

The Problem

The building owner has to pump sewage and grey water up 40 feet to meet the city’s infrastructure. The odors from this room were being vented into the garage area, and as such were being sucked up by the elevator shaft to apartment floors. They were going to have to build a duct system to vent the garage area up 30 stories at a cost of $300,000 to vent the area properly.

Standard Garbage Room

Sanuvair® S300 OZD Odor Removal Unit

Sanuvox Customized Solution

Sanuvox introduced the SANUVAIR® S300 OZD into the space, complete with a hydroxyl controller that automatically reacts to a concentration of 0.025 ppm. 

This odor removal unit was able to recirculate the air continuously in front of the UVC and UVV lamps, thus preventing the proliferation of harmful bacteria and neutralizing bad odors emanating from garbage putrefaction.


The odor situation was removed in about a day and the customer spent about $7,000 vs $300,000 for the solution.

Plastic & Foam Factory, October 2017

The case

Removing odors from a manufacturing operation that slices up old plastic and foam (used material), which is then formed into sheets and used for underpadding for artificial turf installations.

The Problem

In the process of slicing up the plastics and foam, ammonia is generated. So, the manufacturer had to vent the area to remove the
smell of ammonia. In the winter months, this was going to require two make up air units to maintain the temperature in the area.

Plastic & Foam Factory

Quattro UV Air Purification Unit

Sanuvox Customized Solution

Sanuvox incorporated an air handler and a QUATTRO-GX4 to eliminate the odors, therefore eliminating the necessity for a make up air system.


The manufacturer saved about $20,000 in additional heating costs.

Reducing Odors in Waste Rooms

Reducing Odors in Waste Rooms

Facilities, apartments and condominiums often suffer from odors from the garbage rooms that migrate from the holding area to the garage or on the floors through the chute system.

Different stand-alone systems can be used to eliminate these problems by destroying bacteria and removing chemical and biological odors. The objective is to rapidly recirculate the air in the room in front of UV-C to break down bacteria’s DNA, and in front of UV-V to oxidize the chemical decay molecules while minimizing the residual ozone.


The Sanuvair® S600:
This stand-alone UV air purifier incorporates a variable blower of 300 to 600 cfm, an aluminum mesh washable prefilter to capture particulates and 3 full UV-V oxidizing lamps. According to the customer’s needs, one, two or three UV-V 6.5’’ U shaped  lamps are lighted up.

Room size:  up to 8,000 cubic feet

Suggested installation Sanuvair® S600:


The Sanuvair® S300 OZD:
This stand-alone UV air purifier incorporates a two-speed blower of 220/300 cfm, a 2” pleated prefilter to capture particulates, 1 UVC/UVV lamp and 1 full UV-V oxidizing lamp tied with 20 ft of wiring to an ozone controller set at 0.025 ppm. The controller will sample the air every minute and trigger off the UV-V lamp if more than the set point of ozone is detected. It also comes with 2 extra prefilters.

Room size:  up to 3,000 cubic feet

Suggested installation Sanuvair® S300 OZD:

The Sanuvair® S1000 OZD:
This stand-alone UV air purifier incorporates a blower of 1,000 cfm, 2 x 1” pleated prefilter to capture particulates, 1 UVC/UVV “J” shaped 16” lamp and 1 full UV-V “J” shaped 16” oxidizing lamp tied with 20 ft of wiring to an ozone controller set at 0.025 ppm. The controller will sample the air every minute and trigger off the UV-V lamp if more than the set point of ozone is detected. It also comes with 2 extra prefilters.

Room size:  up to 10,000 cubic feet

Suggested installation Sanuvair® S1000 OZD:

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Odor Remediation of Environmental Tobacco Smoke

Odor Remediation of Environmental Tobacco Smoke

By Normand Brais, P.Eng., M.A.Sc., Ph.D.


Environmental Tobacco Smoke or ETS is a technical term which describes the contaminants released into the air when tobacco products burn or when smokers exhale. At room temperature, many of these compounds are gaseous but most are solid ash particulate and liquid droplets called aerosol.

Particles in tobacco smoke are especially problematic to remove not because of their small size (0.1 to 1 micron), but because they are coated with tar, nicotine, phenols, and many other pungent odorous compounds. They can remain airborne for hours after smoking stops.

Due to their aerosol coating, tobacco smoke particles are not dry but rather sticky and will inevitably clog the surface of any types of air filters, making them quickly wasted and thus ruling out the solution of simple filtration. Their stickiness makes them cling to walls, carpets, fabrics, and clothing, thus impregnating the environment with a lasting nasty smell.

This article describes those technical challenges and explores from a fundamental point of view the proper use of ultraviolet photo-oxidation process as a solution to remediate the odors caused by environmental tobacco smoke.


Studies have shown that cigarette smoke contains over 3,800 chemical compounds. Some of these compounds are shown in Table 1 below. Cigarette smoke aerosols are essentially condensable gases resulting from incomplete combustion. Combustion being an oxidation process, those aerosols can be rendered less sticky and turned into dry ash by completing their oxidation. Their odors would even disappear if they could be fully oxidized down to water vapor and carbon dioxide, which are odorless compounds. If one could draw the smoke cloud directly into the combustion chamber of an industrial fume incinerator at 850 Celcius for two seconds, the odorous molecules cocktail listed in Table 1 would be completely oxidized and consequently odorless. Although it would work perfectly, this solution is obviously not economically sound.


Table 1. Chemical composition of cigarette smoke

Duration of smoke production (sec)

20 sec

550 sec

Characteristics or compound

Mainstream Smoke

Sidestream smoke

Particles (number per cigarette)



a) Solid particles and aerosols









Benzo (a) pyrene









Benzo (a) fluorene



Benzo (b/c) fluorene



Chrysene, benz (a) anthracene



Benzo (b,k,j) fluorenthrene



Benzo (e) pyrene






Dibenz (a,j) anthracene



Dibenz (a,h) anthracene, ideno-(2,3) pyrene



Benzo (g,h,i) perylene






Phenols (total)






Polonium 210, pCi



b) Gases and vapors






Carbon monoxide






Carbon dioxide






Hydrogen Cyanide















Source: Introduction to indoor air quality: a reference manual, EPA/40013-91/003



Inspection of Table 1 shows that filtration alone could not handle cigarette smoke aerosols. Past experience has shown that the very small sub-micron size of the particles requires expensive HEPA filters that become tar coated and consequently clogged very quickly.

Besides classic filtration, there is another well-known way to remove sub-micron particulates from the air. Electrostatic air filters also called air ionizers have this capability. Instead of capturing particles mechanically like classic filters, the idea behind electrostatic or electronic filtration is to electrically charge the particles so that they will migrate due to electrical forces toward nearby surfaces. The same effect is obtained by rubbing a balloon on one’s hair and then sticking it to a wall. Eventually, the balloon loses its charge and falls back to the floor.

Many of the popularly called “smoke eaters” use the electrostatic principle to collect smoke particles on metal plates. The effect of ionizers on the smoke particles in the air is the same, except that they have no collecting plates and the charged particles end up sticking on the walls and surfaces of the room. It is worth noting that since the cigarette particles are sticky with tar, they will overtime coat all the room surfaces with pungent smelly yellow-brown tar extract.

Experiences with ionizers into small volumes like a hand jar is quite conclusive where the smoke particles of one cigarette can be easily dispersed toward to jar walls within 15 to 20 seconds. However when repeating the same experience in a larger volume like a 3m x 3m x 3m room, the time required to clear the air from the same amount of smoke goes up to several hours!

The explanation for this loss of effectiveness as the room size increases is rooted into basic fundamental physics of electrostatic forces: the Coulomb Law, which states that the electrical forces between charged particles decreases with the square of their distance. The Coulomb Law implies that when the distance is doubled, the electrical force is reduced by a factor of 4. When comparing the electrical forces in the small jar where the particles are within less than a few centimeters from one another and from a nearby wall with that of a room of a few meters wide, the electrostatic forces responsible for the dispersion of the smoke particles are down by the square of the ratio of 1 meter to 1 centimeter i.e. the square of 100 or 10,000 times less electrical force !

This fundamentally explains why experiment based on removing the same number of smoke particles in a normal size room takes several hours (10,000 + seconds) whereas the old sales-pitch demonstration videos performed in a hand size container takes seconds. Not only air ionization does not remove the odors due to the walls and surface tar coating effect, but their electrostatic actions are way too slow to have any significant cleaning effect except in a small jar. On top of their ineffectiveness, the fact that room surfaces will get gummy as they accumulate the electrically charged tar particles instead of using some internal cleanable capture plates like in all electrostatic smoke eater units, the air ionizers are in fact an ill-conceived version of an electrostatic smoke eater and an overall bad idea.


When ultraviolet UV-C light photons hit a tar or nicotine molecule, they carry enough impact energy to break the interatomic chemical bonds and shatter the molecule into many smaller molecules. The energy of germicidal UV photons at 254 nm wavelength is 470 kJ/mole, an energy greater than the energy of all the chemical bonds listed in Table 2. By comparison, visible light with an average wavelength of 550 nm has photon energy of only 217 kJ/mol.

It is therefore quite clear that some bonds within tar, nicotine and phenols molecules in the smoke can be broken down by UV-C irradiation but not by visible light.

Table 2. Chemical Bonds Strength4

Chemical Bond

Chemical Bond Average Energy (kJ/mol)

C – C


C – H


C – N


C – O


C – S


 N – H


Therefore, the chemical bonds between carbon atoms and hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and sulfur atoms will be broken down by UVC ultraviolet photons, resulting broken pieces of molecules. Following this process, the broken molecules can now be further oxidized to complete their combustion and reduce their odor potential.

This oxidation can be accomplished by using a higher energy ultraviolet of 185 nm wavelength called UVV, where the second V stands for Vacuum. UVV photon have an energy of 645 kJ/mole but can only propagate into a vacuum because the dioxygen molecule in the air absorbs it and as a result gets broken up into monoatomic oxygen. At normal atmospheric pressure, UVV photons are almost totally absorbed within less than 5 mm away from a standard low pressure mercury quartz lamp UVV source. These free oxygen atoms generated by the UVV light are then able to react and complete the oxidation of the broken-down tar, nicotine, and phenols molecules.

The end products of this photo-oxidation process are then dry non-sticky ashes particles that can now be captured by adequate standard filters. This way the odors are eliminated by the oxidation process and the dry resulting particles removed by filtration.

The proper sizing to avoid oversizing of photo-oxidation system is of utmost importance. Should there be nothing to react with, the UVV generated oxygen atoms O* will react with dioxygen molecules O2 to produce ozone O3, another undesirable compound. Ozone is a not a stable molecule and will decompose naturally into normal dioxygen at ambient room temperature within 20 to 30 minutes depending upon relative humidity. The OSHA limit for 8 hours exposure is 0.05 ppm of ozone. Because the generation rate and the rate of decomposition of ozone in the absence of any smoke or other volatile contaminants in a given room size at an ambient temperature and ventilation rate can all be adequately calculated, it is possible to size an ultraviolet photo-oxidation system that will never exceed the OSHA safety limit.


This paper has described in detail the nature and composition of cigarette smoke and the consequential inherent shortcomings of classical filtration and electrostatic filters or air ionizers. Many years of experimental evidences backed by calculations based on cigarette smoke chemical composition show that the odor of cigarette smoke cannot be removed without altering the structure of the molecules responsible for the odors which are essentially tar, nicotine, and phenols. Besides thermal incineration, ultraviolet photo-oxidation has proven to be the most effective way to accomplish this by degrading and oxidizing those molecules. Their oxidation render the smoke particles dry and non-sticky which make them acceptable candidates for standard filtration. Care must be taken to adequately engineer the ultraviolet photo-oxidation system with respect to the room size and ventilation rates to keep the potential residual ozone well within the OSHA limit when the treated room becomes free from tobacco smoke.



The author is grateful to Francisco Doyon P.Eng. and Grégory Clément P.Eng. for sharing their experimental data on the effect of air ionizers on environmental tobacco smoke inside rooms of various scale.


  1. C.N. Davies, Cigarette smoke: generation and properties of the aerosol, J.Aerosol Sci. Vol 19, No.4, pp463-469, 1988.
  2. Hays, Gobbell, Ganick, Indoor Air Quality, McGraw-Hill,1995, p.58.
  3. Spengler, Samet, McCarthhy, Indoor Air Quality Handbook. McGraw-Hill, 2001.
  4. UWaterloo, Bond Lengths and Energies. n.d. Web. 21 Nov 2010.
  5.…20/bondel.html EPA. Reference Guide to Odor Thresholds for Hazardous Air Pollutants Listed in the Clean Air Act Ammendments of 1990.
  6. EPA/600/R-92/047, March 1992.

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Fighting Tobacco Smoke

Fighting Tobacco Smoke

Designated smoking areas, althrough typically spared from working and living spaces, often cause problems with air that may very well circulate in and out of these areas. The smoking area itself may be overwhelmed with cigarette smoke, causing smokers to seek alternative places to smoke.

Sanuvox Technologies offers two units that are effective at removing tobacco smoke from the air and reducing cigarette odors, as well as nicotine and smoke that are so problematic. Unlike conventional technologies, Sanuvox UV systems do not use costly carbon for absorption nor rely solely on filters, which easily become coated with tar and nicotine The proprietory process changes the molecular structure of the tobacco smoke into a fine powder, which is then captured on the filter media. It is recommended that the UV systems be sized to provide a recirculation rate of 6 to 8 air changes per hour.


Stand-alone Sanuvair® 300 VOC or Sanuvair® 1000 VOC UV air purifiers that include germicidal and oxidizing ultraviolet lamps, prefilters and a main filter to capture nicotine and smoke. An optional VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) detector can be used with multiple lamps when the number of occupants increases.

Typical installation:


Sanuvox dual zone UV lamp will reduce odors, nicotine and smoke in the room through recirculation. With the optional UV-V lamp(s) and VOC detector, if the smoke level increases (because there are more smokers), the VOC detector will trigger the additional oxidizing lamp(s), then shut them off when the level decreases. The cycle is repeated, lowering the odor, nicotine and smoke levels, until the maximum reduction is reached.

Cigarette smoke is composed mainly of:

  • White ash
  • Nicotine molecules
  • Chemical by-products

Ash will be trapped by the pre-filters. Nicotine will be transformed into a type of yellow powder that will be captured by the prefilters and the main filter. The chemical by-products will be oxidized by the UV process: high frequency UV-V energy activates the organic molecules and accelerates the chemical reaction, resulting in the air being oxidized. Odors are oxidized by the process of photolysis that initiates the breaking of chemical bonds by the action of the ultraviolet light. The oxidation process will reduce odors and chemical contaminants by changing the complex molecular contaminants into CO2 and H2O


Approximately 6 to 8 air changes per hour are required. This reduces the standard of fresh air required by two thirds.

An Sanuvair® S300 VOC unit (300 cfm) will be sufficient for a 1,920 cu.ft. room (12’ X 20’ X 8’) with 9.3 changes per hour.

An Sanuvair® S1000 VOC unit (1000 cfm) will be sufficient for a 9,600 cu.ft. room (20’ X 40’ X 10’) with 7.5 changes per hour.


Many buildings and facilities can be equipped with one of these stand-alone units, like eldercare homes, private homes, poker rooms and casinos, bingo halls, cigar bar, or smoking rooms.

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Removing Ground Level Odors

Removing Ground Level Odors

Processing activities, as well as maintenance operations, can produce troublesome odors that may affect those working and visiting a site or facility. It may even cause problems for those living in the underline community. These applications include sewage treatment facilities, sump pump operations, excavation, pumping stations, arena ice pits, grease traps, etc.

Sanuvox UV disinfection systems may be outfitted with special oxidation UV Lamp (185nm) that produce high levels of ozone (O3) to effectively combat odors emanating from these various types of applications. The self-contained systems can be located very close to the source of the odor alleviating the issue where it is most concentrated.

When the objective is to to substantially reduce odors generated by a sump pit, such as sewage ditch, sewer pumping stations, residual from ice scraping equipment (Zamboni), or grease traps, Sanuvox offers the right solution with its high efficiency patented air disinfection system.


Stand-alone units that will either process air through recirculation in a room or inject a small quantity of ozone directly into the specific containment device to reduce odors.

An ozone controller can be used to limit the residual ozone outside of the containment area to a concentration level lower than the ASHRAE limit (0.05ppm).

Typical Sanuvair® S1000 OZD INSTALLATION:


The unit purifies the air through recirculation in two ways:
1. The UV lamp germicidal section destroys biological contaminants (viruses, fungi, bacteria) moving through air.
2. The UV lamp oxidizing section reduces the chemical components in the air through photo-oxidation.

Ultraviolet photon energy (170-220nm) is emitted from a high-intensity source to decompose (break-down) oxygen molecules into activated monoatomic oxygen. The rate of production or effectiveness of this process depends on the wavelength and intensity of its source.

The activated oxygen atoms (O*) are then mixed in the airstream; the process will react with any compound containing carbon-hydrogen or sulfur, reducing them by successive oxidation to odorless and harmless by-products. If the activated oxygen atoms outnumber airborne contaminants, there will be the formation of ozone (O3) which will occur following the oxidation of normal oxygen molecules (02).

3- NEUTRALISATION PHASE: (also germicidal) O3+UV(C) –> O2+O*: O+O –> O2

The stand-alone units will include an extra oxidizing (UV-V) lamp. In the absence of an ozone controller, a warning label must be provided to the user. Certain conditions may require up to four UV-V lamps in one unit.


Many buildings and facilities can be equipped with the S1000, like municipal sewage treatment plants, municipal pumping stations, ice-snow containment (pit) areas, hotels grease pits, and grey water treatment.

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Purifying Air in Kennels & Veterinarian Centers

Purifying Air in Kennels and Veterinarian Centers

Illness among animals especially dogs can be significantly higher when many of them are boarded within close proximity, or kept within the same room or building. Airborne illnesses can easily be transmitted from one animal to another. Odors may cause issues when they migrate to other areas and affect staff and visitors.

Sanuvox UV systems are the ideal solution for destroying airborne viruses and bacteria, as well as reducing the concentration of unpleasant odors, such as ammonia produced by animals in kennels, shelters, pet stores and veterinarian clinics. Its proprietary system eradicates biological contaminants (bacteria, viruses, germs and allergens), and destroys chemicals and biological odors.


Multiple application UV systems can be used for both stand-alone and duct-mount installations.

As stand-alone units, the P900 is equipped with an 80 cfm blower, the Sanuvair® S300 with a 300 cfm blower, and the Sanuvair® S1000 with a 1000 cfm blower. Sanuvair® S300 and S1000 also come with filters to capture particulates (pet hair, etc.). A dual zone UV-C/UV-V lamp is standard. An “adjustable” oxidizing lamp is available.

As an in-duct unit, the Quattro is installed parallel to the airflow and includes four UV-C/UV-V lamps, each with a one-inch section of oxidizing UV-V. Two of the lamp’s oxidizing sections are covered with removable foil, allowing for increased oxidation if necessary.

Typical installations:


Each unit treats the air through recirculation in two ways:
1. The Germicidal UV-C lamp portion destroys airborne biological contaminants (viruses, mold,
2. The Oxidizing UV-V lamp portion reduces airborne chemical contaminants and VOCs through


Ultraviolet photon energy (170-220nm) is emitted from a high-intensity source to decompose (break down) oxygen molecules into activated monoatomic oxygen. The rate of production or effectiveness of this process depends on the wavelength and intensity of its source.

The activated oxygen atoms (O*) are then mixed in the airstream; the process will react with any compound containing carbon-hydrogen or sulfur, reducing them by successive oxidation to odorless and harmless by-products. If airborne contaminants are outnumbered by the activated oxygen atoms, then there will be formation of residual ozone (O3) which will occur following the oxidation of normal oxygen molecules (02).

3- NEUTRALISATION PHASE: (also germicidal)  O3+UV(C) –> O2+O*: O+O –> O2

Ammonia NH3+OH* –> N2 + H2O


Many buildings and facilities can be equipped with either the stand-alone disinfection units or the in-duct unit, like kennels, pet boarding and animal shelters, laboratories, veterinarian centers, and zoos and pet stores.

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Disinfecting Locker Rooms & Bathroom Odors

Disinfecting Locker Rooms and Bathroom Odors

Lockers room odors are the result of perspiration which is excreted by the sweat glands in our skin. Sweat itself is not the source of the odor, but rather the off-gassing of the bacteria which feeds on sweat. The source of this unpleasant off-gassing can be found on occupants, clothes, towels and equipment as well as other soft materials.

The Sanuvair® S300 air purification system with HEPA filter is the ideal solution to reduce and elimitate unpleasant odors, such as in locker room and bathrooms. The proprietary Sanuvox process sterilizes and oxidizes bacteria, viruses, chemicals and odors, dramatically improving the air quality.

As stand-alone units, the P900 is equipped with a blower of 80 cfm, the Sanuvair®S300 with a blower of 300 cfm, and the Sanuvair® S1000 with a blower of 1000 cfm. Filters (except on the P900) capture particulates (pet hair, etc.) while the dual zone UV-C/UV-V “adjustable” lamp disinfects the air.

The Sanuvair® S300 unit can be used as a stand-alone with optional intake and exhaust louvers or ducted using an 8-inch flexible duct with optional collars.


Untreated air is drawn into the inlet of the unit, purified with the germicidal / oxidation UV lamp, filtered and then exhausted. Recirculating the air in the room continuously reduces bacteria and odors, improving overall air quality.


Approximately 6 to 8 air changes per hour are required.

A P900 unit (80 cfm) with a dual zone UV-C/UV-V lamp will be required for a 1,200 cu.ft. room (15’ X 10’ X 8’).

A Sanuvair® S300 unit (300 cfm) with a dual zone UV-C/UV-V lamp will be required for a 4,500 cu.ft. room (25’ X 20’ X 10’). Collars can be ordered to duct the unit using an 8-inch diameter duct, or an intake and exhaust louver grill(s), if the unit will be used as a stand-alone system.

A Sanuvair® S1000 unit (1000 cfm) with a dual zone UV-C/UV-V lamp will be required for a 15,000 cu.ft. room (50’ X 20’ X 15’). The system uses 2 x 8 inch inlets and 2 x 8 inch exhaust outlets (collars).

The unit should be positioned near the center of the room to be as effective as possible. Excluding the P900 unit, the two other units can be installed in the plenum above the ceiling or in an adjoining room and ducted with 8-inch round duct.

All Sanuvox air purification systems are equipped with a dual zone “J” UV-C/UV-V lamp. All dual zone lamps have a maximum oxidizing UV-V section in order to minimize residual ozone. In situations where odors are more concentrated, it is possible to outfit the units (except in the P900 unit) with special lamps incorporating a larger section of oxidation, with the installer making the final odor adjustments on site.

Many buildings and facilities can be equipped with one of the stand-alone units, like team sport locker rooms, dressing rooms, fitness centers, laundry rooms and storage, or basements.

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