First city in Germany: Hanau equips bus fleet with UV air filters

Hanau, 06.11.2020

  • First city bus is equipped with UV-C air cleaners
  • Air from ventilation system is now 99.99% virus-free
  • UV air purifiers increase protection of the population against Covid-19
  • Studies confirm effectiveness of UV-C light
  • By the end of the year, around 15 retrofitted buses will be driving through Hanau

In the fight against the Corona pandemic, Hanau is the first city in Germany to equip its bus fleet with UV-C air cleaners from Heraeus. "UV light is effective against Covid 19 and helps to increase the protection of the population," says Mayor Claus Kaminsky. The Brothers Grimm City has entered into a strategic development partnership with Heraeus to use UV-C disinfection in its own vehicles and rooms to protect people.

Hanau Tramway (HSB), the city's local transportation company, has installed its first public bus with retrofitted UV-C air purifiers. "Our UV-C lamps render viruses and bacteria harmless with an effectiveness of 99.99 percent - including the Covid-19 pathogen. This has been proven by studies conducted by the University Hospital of Tübingen and Boston University," says Heraeus Noblelight CEO Martin Ackermann.

UV conversion is possible in all bus types

Heraeus Noblelight, a leading global supplier of specialty lighting applications based in Hanau, Germany, worked closely with HSB to develop a certified UV retrofit solution for the city bus ventilation system in just six weeks. The retrofit time for each bus is only two to three hours for the UV-C lamps. Additional solo and articulated buses will be retrofitted in the coming weeks. The devices are CE-certified and have successfully passed the tests of the VDE Institute. By the end of the year, up to 15 buses are to be equipped with this pioneering technology The solution is suitable for retrofitting all bus types worldwide with few modifications "We are experiencing strong demand for our products and are in talks with districts, cities and bus manufacturers throughout Germany," says Ackermann.

Rapid installation in new vehicles

Installation in the production process of new vehicles would even be possible with almost no additional time required. Heraeus supports the use of the systems with its own state-of-the-art simulation techniques. "Heraeus simulates the air flow rate of the devices with its own flow laboratory in Bavaria. In this way, we ensure that the units suck in, clean and blow out the air effectively, taking into account the respective layout of the buses," says Ackermann.

"Instead of imposing more and more restrictions, we must also exhaust all technical possibilities to prevent the further spread of the pandemic. I am convinced that professional UV-C air purification systems are the best available technology we have today to further increase protection for the population," says Hanau's Mayor Kaminsky.

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UV-C light disinfects without chemicals

Ultraviolet (UV) light is part of the natural light spectrum. At a wavelength of 254nm (UV-C), the RNA of the virus is destroyed by 99.99 percent. This has been demonstrated in several scientific studies (see Notes to Editors). UV light has been used for decades in the purification of drinking water, in the air purification of airports or for the disinfection of packaging, including baby food. UV-C light is an alternative process that is chemical-free, ozone-free, without the need for collection filters.

UV-C devices from Heraeus are safe and quiet

"Our UV light solutions are absolutely safe, economical, handy and quiet - household electricity is enough. Our devices can be used in classrooms, stores, practices, law firms, or public spaces. We are developing the fields of application and efficient use in our partnership with the city of Hanau." Managing Director Ackermann also points to the long service life of Heraeus lamps - which is up to around 16,000 hours. Accordingly, a lamp could run for around ten years in certain applications.

UV-C technology has long proven its worth in water disinfection

Major Kaminsky recalls "that we have already had good experience with the use of UV for disinfection in Hanau, which also encourages us to use this technology against Corona". For example, Stadtwerke Hanau has been disinfecting drinking water with UV lamps instead of chlorine at its Mittelbuchen, Wallersee, Bruchwiesen and Großkrotzenburg waterworks for years. The UV-C radiation is chemical-free, as the disinfection and virus killing is done by high-energy light. In addition, the taste of the drinking water - in contrast to chlorination - is not affected."

In addition, the municipal utility Hanau Infrastruktur Service (HIS) recently put a system into operation that uses UV disinfection to produce germ-free clear water from wastewater for cleaning purposes in the sewage treatment plant. These lamps also come from Heraeus.

Studies on the effectiveness of UV light against viruses, bacteria and fungi