Ozone vs Hydroxyl Generators

Hydroxyl GeneratorsAs an advocate of ozone solutions, it is possible to be closed-minded about something that competes with ozone.  However, the premise is "Environmentally-Smart Solution" rather than one idea that ignores all else. In fact, I have tried to be open-minded about all non-chemical solutions to the common problems we face.  In the debate between corona and UV ozone generators, it has been our stance that both are great systems, but corona delivers more bang for the buck, while UV offers a better output of nitrous-free ozone. 

To start with, a hydroxdyl is formed in a generator using a specific type of 254 nm ultraviolet light shining on a titanium oxide surface.  While ozone generators do not produce as much volume in high humidity, hydroxyl generates love high humidity.  They work best at humidity levels of 60-90%.

One of the distinct advantages of a hydroxyl generator is the ability to run the unit while people are still in the building.  This is something you cannot do with serious ozone generators.  

Take note that the UV light and hydroxyl reaction happens in the chamber in a split second as hydroxyls are made.  A hydroxyl has a very short life span, whereas ozone stays active for at least twenty minutes.  It is reported the hydroxyl will leave the unit in the treated air, it is the general consensus that the reach of hydroxyl units are limited.  You typically find a very strong fan in a hydroxyl unit to create massive airflow for best results.

Some comments on ozone versus hydroxyl are:

Kent Berg of NIDS says: "Ozone is a very effective tool for odor removal but of course has its downsides related to health and safety as well as damage potential to certain items. Hydoxyl generators are new and the technology has not yet produced an efficient machine that can compete head-to-head with ozone, but I'm sure it's coming. People who don't like Hydroxyls have issue with how slow they are, the limited treatment areas, and the expense. Some who don't think they work often don't realize that they work best when placed in humid environments (hydroxyl generators need H2O and O2 to create the hydroxyl radical)."

If you check around you will find a common theme.  "Ozone is more effective and efficient, and hydroxyl is effective but takes longer"  I think this is as fair as it gets.  The advantages of hydroxyls are: 1) No strong odor, 2) works in high humidity.  Because "Time is Money" and ozone equipment will do the job more quickly, the majority of odor issues are done with ozone machines.

The difference may lie in the fact that ozone does "Reach Out and Touch" every part of the room.  The 20 minute lifespan of ozone allows it to stay in place and oxidize odors and contaminants for a longer period,  Whereas, hydroxyls do not last that long.  The goal of the hydroxyl units is to use massive airflow to treat as much air as possible with the expectation that the constant introduction of hydroxyls will match ozone's reach.  The price you pay for ozone, is the need to vacate the treated areas and a lingering ozone smell that dissipates in about 24 hours although you always air-out the room after the treatment allowing the ability of people to return to the building.

Don't be close-minded about your remediation options. We like most of the Green and safe tools and products on the market.  We definitely like the innovation and impact of 

  It is not smart to rely on just one tool in a world of such diversity.  While I would start my business with several ozone generators, I would certainly add in some hydroxyl generators as the business grew.  If you are in the south where there are high temperatures and high humidity, hydroxyl generators may be more popular.  

In summary, I like all these ideas.  UV ozone generators, corona ozone generators, and hydroxyl generators.  Which will dominate?  It is likely to be the one that does the best job at permanent odor removal.  See: Hydroxyl Generators