Italian-based Integra Fragrances has added biodegradable sanitizer to its HVAC fragrance diffusers to provide a cleaning solution for use on board cruise ships, with three cruise lines reportedly showing interest.
‘Three cruise lines are close to choosing our product,’ said Lorenzo Cotti, ceo, Integra Fragrances which has been supplying the design, hospitality and banking industries for the past 14 years. ‘The cruise lines are very much attracted by the fact that our system is super easy to install, does not require any adjustment to the existing HVAC… and is really not expensive.
He added, ‘We are additionally talking with three major companies that project manage/produce HVAC systems for cruise ships, two cruise interior design firms and cruise maintenance suppliers.’
Technology & installation
The solution consists of two tanks, each containing scent or sanitizer, in a housing that is fitted to the preexisting HVAC system and nebulized directly into HVAC ducts. A flow separator enables the scent to be switched off remotely, if needed, while output of the odorless disinfection continues.
A level gauge inside the tank is reset every 24 hours to ensure the amount of sanitizer nebulized does not exceed set parameters, with quantity customizable. Sanitization is preserved through intermittent dosage around the clock; a pressure switch detects the flow and speed of the air in ducts so that the machine turns off immediately in case of a fault with the air handling unit (AHU).
The solution is controlled remotely, including through Bluetooth, and each diffuser downloads data weekly or monthly so that the parameters of each device can be monitored.
‘The fragrance diffusion is continuous, e.g. 30 seconds of nebulization versus 30 seconds’ pause in a one-minute cycle,’ says Cotti. ‘For sanitization, our protocol is: one longer treatment at night (reduced flow of people in the premises) to act on all surfaces, and regular inputs for a few minutes every hour to keep the air and the HVAC system constantly sanitized.’
Installation of each system takes approximately 15 minutes, and spare parts and sanitizer may be kept on board. Cleaning is required once per-year.
The main microbial agent used in the solution is benzalkonium chloride (BAC), which is advantageous for its easy transportation, long shelf-life and non-toxicity. Commonly used for air treatment, industrial plants and in recycling systems, it has recently been recommended for disinfection against COVID-19 by government bodies in the US, Singapore, Australia and Italy, informs Integra Fragrances.
On the subject of Integra’s scents - which are made up of concentrated essential oils and free from alcohol - Cotti commented, ‘Whenever we develop a new fragrance we run specific environment toxicology tests to make sure it does not accumulate in the environment.
‘However, the quantity we diffuse, both for scent and BAC, is too little to harm the environment in any possible way… our remotely controlled protocol, constantly controlling the input levels, is far less harmful and dangerous than a normal user spraying disinfectants, body perfume or home fragrance in the air without following any specific rule nor suggested dosage.’
The system is suitable for disinfection of air, surfaces and textiles, including marble, leather, wall paintings and ceramics. It is easily maintained, according to Cotti, and does not require modification of existing HVAC systems.