"AVATOR" – Anti-Virus-Aerosol: Testing, Operation, Reduction

AVATOR climate chamber for validating simulations and air purification technologies
© Fraunhofer IBP
Test environment at Fraunhofer IBP for validating simulations and air purification technologies: Climate chamber.
AVATOR "Indoor Air Test Center" with filter providing ground
© Fraunhofer IBP
Test environment at Fraunhofer IBP: “Indoor Air Test Center” with filter proving ground.

The pandemic spread of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) can be curbed by severing chains of transmission and thus slowing down its propagation. Exhaled aerosols with particles < 10 μm are one of the main ways infections are transmitted. Against this background, lowering the number of people in a room at any one time and making sure they keep a certain distance away from one another, as well as improving indoor air hygiene and ventilation, are important measures to help combat the pandemic. Especially educational institutions, hospitals, care facilities, hotels, and other forms of accommodation, railway and aircraft operators, manufacturing companies and office-based firms are searching for answers to hygiene issues as well as practical solutions to prevent the spread of aerosol infections. Consequently, the “AVATOR” project is exploring ways to reduce the risk of infection from aerosol-borne viruses in enclosed spaces.

Project goals

In addition to technologies for purifying the indoor air, the AVATOR project investigates the spread of aerosols and derives hygiene concepts for different scenarios. The mechanisms of spread are modeled using simulations based on “Computational Fluid Dynamics” right up to zonal and agent-based approaches. In parallel to the simulation-based methods for assessing the spread of microorganisms via the air, the institutes are developing several air purification technologies. These developments will ultimately be tested in laboratory environments and then validated in real environments. The project results will lead to new concepts for reducing the risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2 in various application scenarios.

Project status

Currently, a series of simulations are being used to predict aerosol dispersion for different application scenarios in rooms. Experts from micro-, meso- and macro-scale simulation are being involved to supplement and optimize existing predictions. By using agent-based simulations, the effects of the activities carried out by people in rooms are also accounted for. From this, appropriate hygiene measures can be derived, and the effectiveness of existing hygiene measures can be validated. Based on the requirements of different types of room, prototypes for various indoor air purification techniques are also being developed at the same time.

Project partners