CycloPlasma project - Innovative method for renovating contaminated wooden structures

Sawing work on a contaminated timber beam
© Fraunhofer IBP
Sawing work on a historic timber beam contaminated with lindane.

In Germany, approximately 3 million buildings are potentially contaminated with the wood preservatives lindane and pentachlorophenol (PCP). Current solutions for minimizing exposure to these contaminants include the removal or isolation of contaminated areas or an increase in air exchange rates. In terms of resources, energy and heritage conservation, these methods have a detrimental effect on the preservation of old buildings and can result in high costs.

The novel approach in the CycloPlasma project applies a combination of innovative adsorber material on the wood surface and plasma-based indoor air purifiers to renovate contaminated wood structures. Both the wood and the contaminated interiors are treated lastingly without leaving any residues or posing any health risks.

Project goals

The project combines two established methods in an unprecedented way. An innovative absorber material is used to remove harmful substances from wooden structures without loss of substance. The plasma-based method used to purify the indoor air captures all pollutants in the room air that have been outgassed from the wood and renders them harmless. The CycloPlasma technique is a revolutionary concept when it comes to renovating and modernizing historical buildings.

The method can be applied to all buildings in private and public ownership. The focus is particularly on buildings from the 1970s and 1980s which were treated with the wood preservatives that were widely used at the time. In addition, a large number of listed buildings is due for renovation, as many of them, or the exhibits contained within were treated with wood preservatives containing lindane and PCP during the aforementioned period.

Project results

Preliminary laboratory tests have been conducted and the results are highly promising. In the next step, practical tests will be carried out in a real building.

On the premises of the project partner “Freilichtmuseum Glentleiten” (an open-air museum), a contaminated building was identified as a suitable test object. Various room sections were isolated from one another by installing a reversible construction hung with plastic sheeting. Zero measurements are being carried out in these sections until mid-April. After that, four different applications - all previously validated in the laboratory - will be tested and evaluated over the summer months.

Demonstration object in open-air museum.
© Fraunhofer IBP
Demonstration object in the Glentleiten open-air museum.
Lindane encapsulated in adsorbent material.
© Fraunhofer IBP
Lindane encapsulated in an innovative adsorbent material.