Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is the most efficient photocatalyst for organic oxidative degradation. TiO2 is effective not only in aqueous solution, but also in nonaqueous solvents and in the gas phase. It is photostable, biologically and chemically inert, and non-toxic. Low-energy UV light (approximately 375 nm, UV-A) can be used to photoactivate TiO2. TiO2 photocatalysis has been used to mineralize most types of organic compounds. Also, TiO2 photocatalysis has been effectively used in sterilization. This effectiveness has been demonstrated by its aggressive destruction of microorganisms, and aggressive oxidation effects of toxins. It also has been used for the oxidation of carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide, and ammonia to nitrogen.

Despite having many attractive features, advanced photocatalytic oxidation processes have not been effectively used for air cleaning. One of the limitations of the traditional photocatalytic systems is the ballast that powers (lights) the bulbs. Almost all commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) ballasts are not dimmable and do not contain safety features. COTS ballasts light the UV lamp as bright as the bulb can be lit, and this results in shorter bulb lifetime and maximal power consumption. COTS magnetic ballasts are bulky, heavy, and inefficient.

Several iterations of dimmable electronic ballasts have been developed. Some manifestations have safety features such as broken-bulb or over-temperature warnings, replace-bulb alert, logbulb operational hours, etc.

Several electronic ballast boards capable of independently lighting and controlling (dimming) four fluorescent (UV light) bulbs were designed, fabricated, and tested. Because of the variation in the market bulb parameters, the ballast boards were designed with a very broad range output. The ballast boards can measure and control the current (power) for each channel.

This work was done by Marius Raducanu and Brian D. Hennings of Lynntech, Inc. for Johnson Space Center. For further information, contact the JSC Innovation Partnerships Office at (281) 483-3809. MSC-24333-1

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the July, 2013 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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