Whats the International Ultraviolet Association all about?

Germicidal UV-C Mercury Vapor Lamp

I just got back from attending a recent International Ultraviolet Association (IUVA) Conference.   The International Ultraviolet Association was founded in 1999.  It’s goal is to advance the science, engineering and applications of UV technologies to enhance the quality of human life and protect the environment.  It is a leading knowledge base and voice for UV technologies.  It has become a relevant authority for water and waste water treatment, however more needs to be done to include residential, industrial, air and healthcare applications.

I recently joined the IUVA’s Board of Directors to increase participation from folks working on air treatment.  I think interacting with the IUVA  would open up new avenues for air treatment applications, increase contacts among UV experts, and improve the relevancy by combining forces with leading water treatment researchers, consultants and companies.

In August 2012 the IUVA had it’s conference on “Moving Forward: Sustainable UV Solutions to Meet Evolving Regulatory Challenges” in Washington DC.  At the conference I attended only a handful of the many excellent presentations (I could only be in one place at one time!).  This blog summarizes a few of the cool things I learned at the conference.  There were only 2 papers on air treatment, one that I gave discussing the current state of UV and what I think is needed to increase its application, and a second on surface disinfection technologies for healthcare facilities to decrease hospital-acquired infections.

Stig Regli (Senior Leader and Policy Advisor for the U.S. EPA Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water) gave the opening address.  He shared that there was very limited use of UV in public drinking water prior to 2000.  There was more use in the 1990s in wastewater treatment.  Healthcare concerns from disinfection by-products and cryptosporidium became big drivers for new water treatment technologies in the 1990s.  In 2006 the stage 2 rules came out identifying UV as a critical technology.

Gen. R.L. “Van” Van Antwerp (former Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) gave a rousing talk at lunch.  He shared his ideas about how to sell UV.  First he suggested “painting the box top,” or making it more interesting/attractive/eye-catching.  Then he said that to persuade people to go with UV, they have got to know that they will serve the people by doing this.  The people here in the US and other nations will be better off using UV.  This will be a main reason they will be willing to invest.  Finally we need to develop the people – educate and teach students about UV.

Harold Wright at Carollo Engineers talked about the UV Validation Facility built in Portland, OR to test UV reactors for water treatment.  Imagine having such a facility for air treatment!  It is set up as a single pass configuration and tests at least 2-5 different organisms.

Sara Beck at my own institution, the University of Colorado Boulder, presented her current PhD research with Karl Linden.  She is working on a better understanding of polychromatic UV inactivation of virus with medium pressure lamps.  It has been found that some virus inactivation (like for adenovirus) is more effective with medium pressure – why?  She is looking at both nucleic acid and protein damage together and testing single stranded MS2 and the double stranded adenovirus.  Stay tuned, this is a great project!  I’d like to see a detailed assessment like this for air treatment with UV…

Brian Hilts with CDM Smith presented UV system sizing methods for wastewater: (1) point source summation and (2) bioassay field tests on reactors with surrogates.  I was intrigued with the performance tests – they went out to a facility and grabbed 10 samples upstream and downstream of the UV reactor over 3 days and assessed the E.coli concentrations.  Hmmm, could we do this with an air treatment system in a healthcare facility, sample for flu?

Christina Barstow, an Engineering for Developing Communities PhD student at CU presented her work on smart UV systems in Rwanda.  She works with Manna Energy Ltd – “Energy for Life” – which is a social enterprise.  They promote clean technology, reducing carbon footprints, and selling the carbon credits on the market.  For example, using UV to treat drinking water reduces the amount of biomass used to boil water, and voila! – carbon emissions are reduced.  Manna Energy Ltd received the 1st United Nations carbon credit for water treatment.  They are working on a community scale, for example with 100 girls at a school using local expertise and employment.  The smart UV systems are designed to help improve the operation and maintenance of UV water systems there by increasing use and lifetime.

Last but not least one of the coolest things that was happening at IUVA was the presence of NASA scientists and engineers who are partnering to educate young people and help them get excited about science and engineering.  NASA and IUVA are partnering to educate about UV!

stay tuned…

2 responses to “Whats the International Ultraviolet Association all about?

  1. Dear Shelly,

    Firstly, thank you so much for taking time to make this Blog Site. I am sure we will receive some much-needed and interesting information from you over the coming months and years!

    I wonder if you could help us with a question we get from prospective clients please? We have begun marketing (and installing) UVGI systems into larger Air Handling Units here in Bangkok, Thailand. One question we are getting more and more frequently is: “Could you please tell us the Return on Investment (ROI) timescale?” Or in other words, “…how much will your CoilClean UVGI system save us in energy costs?”

    We can answer (and satisfy) all their queries relating to the ‘clean air’ aspect of installing UVGI systems, but get a bit stuck when they ask us the above question.

    Would you know of a website, or where we could find somebody that could help and assist us in being able to quantify savings relating to the use of UV-C (or UVGI as we prefer to call it) inside an Air Handling Unit of say 60 tons?

    I hope you will be able to point us in the right direction and we would love to be part of your blog in the future with some of the projects we are undertaking here in Asia. Please let me know if you would like that, as we would be more than willing to help ‘spread the word’ about UVGI!

    Thanks in advance and keep up the good work there.

    Best regards…

    Philip North


    Clean Air (Thailand) Co., Ltd


    Philip North (ฟิลลิป นอร์ท)


    Clean Air (Thailand) Co., Ltd



    Suite 15, 2 Ploenchit Center, G Floor

    Sukhumvit Road, Klongtoey

    Bangkok, Thailand, 10110

    Office +66 (0) 2656 9478 | Mobile +66 (0)81 499 4057 | Fax +66 (0) 2656 9479

    Website | http://www.cleanairthailand.com

    • Hi Phillip,

      We do not yet have enough data to predict the return-on-investment for UVGI installations in air-handling units. With that said, it is my opinion that most facilities would see a really reasonable ROI and would be pleased with the performance of systems (given they are designed correctly). This would be especially true in climates such as yours (Thailand).

      I would be definitely interested in learning about how your large projects are going in Thailand! I also hope to visit soon, Thailand is one of my favorite countries and I have been there 3 times!

      Regards, Shelly

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