DOST backs cheap school ventilation system
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Science and Technology Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) is supporting the development of a low-cost ventilation system aimed at minimizing the risk of COVID-19 airborne transmission in schools.
The University of San Carlos in Cebu City made a local version of the ventilation system developed by Dr. Frank Helleis, which is being used in more than 600 schools in Germany.
The prototype uses readily available materials including exhaust fan, PET sheets, cable ties, duct tape and glue as its effectiveness is being tested in tropical indoor environments.
Based on the initial results of the project, carbon dioxide emissions tend to go directly to the ventilation system, consequently decreasing the risk of spreading the virus indoors.
According to the DOST, one unit of the prototype ventilation system is projected to amount to P5,000, which is expected to “significantly go down” after negotiating with the suppliers and manufacturing partners.
“Aside from being low-cost, the ventilation system is also designed for easy installation, which will help us enable massive deployment in the future,” said Jaime Montoya, executive director of the DOST-PCHRD.
“Ultimately, this will help us transition to the new normal and will be beneficial for indoor environments, such as classrooms, business offices, public transport vehicles, and small manufacturing facilities, among others,” he added.
The team of researchers is currently optimizing the design and deployment of the prototype to selected indoor environments.
With the start of in-person classes, they are preparing to further test the ventilation system’s effectiveness in several classrooms in Cebu and examine whether the prototype would cause discomfort to the students.
The DOST-PCHRD said the project team would consider the air temperature, air speed/velocity, relative humidity, clothing insulation, and metabolic rate.
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