UCL Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering


New air and water filter technology showcase

30 July 2018

Filters kill over 90% of tested microorganisms in seconds

Dr Lena Ciric presenting new filter technology at UCL showcase event. Photo ©: UCL Tony Fawcett

Dr Lena Ciric at UCL Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering has been leading an EPSRC funded research project to develop new filter technology to kill microorganisms present in water and air. In July the new technology was presented to health and industry professionals at an evening event held at UCL. The results of the new filters have shown 90% of tested microorganisms killed in seconds. The project coordinated by Dr Lena Ciric bought together expertise from UCL Department of Mechanical Engineering to develop the filter fibers, University of Hertfordshire Centre for Engineering Research nanoparticle analysis, and antimicrobial testing by UCL Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering in collaboration with Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.

Improving health in buildings and public spaces

Most of the world's population is now living in cities and travelling more. As a result we are more likely to come into contact with infections that we would not have been exposed to just a few decades ago due to interactions with more people. The environment plays an important role in the transmission of some infections and it is possible to reduce the transmission of these diseases by better filtration of water and air. Some filtration systems that are currently used will physically stop pathogens such as bacteria. However these systems cannot stop virus particles, are expensive, require frequent maintenance and careful disposal. The aim is to produce effective filters that will also be less expensive to produce and require less maintenance.

The antimicrobial filters will be of most interest to the healthcare industry in the first instance, but they will also be relevant to busy public buildings such as schools, care homes, transport such as airplanes. Furthermore, the filters will be capable of oxidising non-biological materials, like tar and pollution particulates and will improve air quality in a range of indoor environments.​