BIO-UV develops coronavirus killer from ballast technology

Malcolm Latarche

Malcolm Latarche · 22 April 2020

ShipInsight


Following research by the France-based company behind the BIO-SEA ballast water treatment, a surface disinfection system against coronavirus and other organisms will be ready for market introduction by the end of May.

The ultra-violet light technology used to kill the invasive species found in ships’ ballast water tanks can be used to protect seafarers, health workers and first-responders from picking up the coronavirus from surfaces. A prototype scanner based around BIO-UV Group’s proven UV-C reactor technology is currently being independently verified.

Biosea
BIO-UV Group’s founder and CEO Benoít Gillmann

The 50cm handheld device emits a ray of UV-C which is passed over the surface, taking only seconds to disinfect the scanned area. The scanner can be used to kill the coronavirus from sickbay/hospital beds, tables, computer keyboards, furniture and all other surfaces. In parallel, BIO-UV Group subsidiary TRIOGEN is currently working on the development of a disinfection system for wet surfaces using ozone.

BIO-UV Group’s founder and CEO Benoít Gillmann said, “We mobilised our R&D team to develop a system of disinfection for surfaces intended, as a priority, for all nursing staff. However, the technology has potential application in other sectors.”

BIO-UV Group is verifying the capabilities, performance and reliability of the prototype in two CE-approved laboratories. “Since 6 April, progress has been made in the completion of a prototype, the performance of which is currently being tested in compliance with the strictest of international standards,” said Gillmann. “The aim of this testing is to validate the system’s capacity to disinfect and to eliminate all types of microorganisms using UV-C technology. Once this testing has been finalised, a second laboratory will work over the next few weeks on testing the efficacy of the system in eliminating Covid-19.”

If the UV-C scanner’s efficiency is successfully demonstrated, it will be introduced to medical personnel and healthcare workers from the end of May. “At a later stage, the system will be marketed to other industrial sectors, including the maritime sector to help safeguard our seafarers from being infected. Marketing will go ahead once CE marking has been obtained,” Gillmann said.

NB. ShipInsight would like to add the following comment...

UVC is used in many ballast treatment systems and knowing the resourcefulness of seafarers ShipInsight suspects that some enterprising crew may attempt to produce a DIY scanner using spare lamps. We would like to point out the following.

UVC radiation refers to wavelengths shorter than 280 nm. These wavelengths are entirely absorbed by our atmosphere and no natural UVC radiation reaches the surface of the earth.

Exposure to UVC radiation should be avoided as it is harmful to bare skin and particularly dangerous to the eyes. Safety recommendations include: When working around UVC devices, one should:

  • Use UV goggles and/or full-face shields.
  • Prescription glasses and normal safety glasses do not protect eyes from UV exposure, so ANSI Z87 rated eyeglasses with wrap around lens to protect the side exposure is recommended. Consult with ANSI Z87 manufacturers for proper UV exposure protection equipment.
  • Cover any exposed skin using lab coats, nitrile gloves or other lab attire.
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