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Spiri project: smart intelligent system for air quality improvement in closed environments


In today's world, the quality of the air we breathe has a great impact on people life in the short, medium and long term (daily stress, seasonal diseases, cancer development or chronic lung diseases). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), seven million people die prematurely every year because of air pollution. Most of these people die specifically for air pollution in indoor environments such as homes, workplaces, schools, and even medium transport. WHO considers that the main reason of the problem is the fact that the quality parameter of the internal air (IAQ - Indoor Air Quality) is up to 40 times worse than outside air due to factors such as inadequate ventilation, internal source pollutants, among others. A common phenomenon is the so-called "Building Sick Syndrome, where the building occupants report acute health problems and comfort that can not be associated with any specific disease, but the prolonged stay of these individuals in the building. The symptoms range from eye and respiratory system irritation even stress tables and malaise. Disease spreading is also facilitated in places with insufficient ventilation. Other consequences of staying in unhealthy environments include discomfort, chronic stress, and reduced productivity in the case of places where tasks are performed. Globally, most of the population lives in towns and cities, which are largely verticalized through buildings. As a result, it is estimated that the inhabitants of large cities spend on average 90% of their time in indoors environments. There are strategies to mitigate this problem, such as: choice of materials with low emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), oversizing of the ventilation system or variable ventilation rate modulated by the concentration of CO2 (simple control loop). However, despite the latter presenting a degree of sophistication, the low CO2 concentration does not provide an acceptable to ignore other pollutants such as, for example, VOCs or particulate matter (PM). The SIPRI project has as main objective the development and validation of a new approach to control and maintains the IAQ using the PCO technology (Photocatalytic Oxidation). PCO is one of the most advanced methods of today's air purification. This method allows to eliminate very small particles (<0.001um), it includes particles that can be absorbed by the lungs and cause critical health problems. The proposed method involves holistic monitoring of environments to be controlled and application of artificial intelligence techniques for optimal and adaptive control of these. Holistic monitoring means: measures the concentration of various greenhouse gasses, particulate matter and other parameters that correlate with the environments occupancy level - sound pressure sensors, light, and based photodiodes presence in the infrared spectrum, and other common parameters for quality control systems of air. It is intended to develop artificial intelligence algorithms to identify profiles and modify independently the quality control strategies for air quality improvement. In other words, we are going to create a network of different sensors and an algorithm to interpret various data and recognize patterns to optimize the operation of the system, ensuring environmental quality for users and energy efficiency. (AU)

Articles published in Pesquisa para Inovação FAPESP about research grant:
Sensors monitor temperature, humidity and air quality in indoor environments 
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