TOYOHASHI, Aichi Prefecture–A start-up company here developed equipment that uses ozone gas to blow away and suck in viruses from people and their clothes.
The device resembles stand-up scanners used at airports to screen passengers for items or contraband they are prohibited from taking on to aircraft.
The company, o3peace, says the product ensures that anybody with the novel coronavirus attached to the body surface and clothes will get a “clean pass” before entering a building.
It is hoping to sell its gate-shaped ozone gas sprayer to hotels and other commercial facilities.
“Ozone is widely used for sterilization and tap water purification in Germany and elsewhere,” noted Yoshiyuki Hagiwara, 42, founder and president of o3peace. “Our goal in future is for large airports to adopt the product.”
The ozone gate is 2 meters wide, 2 meters tall and weighs 40 kilograms.
Ozone gas generated at high voltage is sprayed from one side of the gate over the person stopping in a designated spot. This, the company says, removes viruses, which are absorbed by a panel on the opposite side. Recovered gas is purified in an overhead duct for circulation.
The ozone gate carries a price tag of 1.5 million yen ($14,300), and was made commercially available with a small manufacturer in Toyohashi that has been making ozone-based devices for more than a decade.
According to o3peace, it has already received an order from a resort hotel in nearby Tahara and is fielding inquiries from a major hotel operator in Nagoya and an airport operator in a remote Okinawan island.
Ozone has been confirmed to be a useful anti-coronavirus measure by researchers at Nara Medical University and Fujita Health University. However, they caution that a higher level of ozone could prove harmful while spraying chemicals into the air might cause health problems.
“The ozone concentration is kept at a safe level for the human body, and a feature is added to eliminate the dangerous nitrogen oxide produced along with ozone,” said Hagiwara.
As skilled personnel are required to operate and maintain the ozone gate, o3peace is expected to limit the product’s sales to corporate customers only and will not reach out to households for the time being.