In this era of Covid-19, airlines have adopted new cleaning procedures to ensure passengers travel in the safest possible environment onboard their aircraft. In addition to super-efficient HEPA filters that are 99.97% effective in capturing bio-contaminants as small as 0.3 microns in diameter, new-technology converters keep unhealthy ozone from entering the cabin.
The Earth’s ozone layer protects us from dangerous UV rays yet the ozone molecules themselves are especially toxic when inhaled. Aircraft typically cruise at altitudes between 29,000 ft and 42,000 ft where ozone is highly concentrated. The concentration varies according to world hemisphere, latitude, and time of year.
Did you know that the FAA and EASA regulate the duration and altitudes that commercial jets can fly to limit exposure to ozone? Aircraft operating manuals specify the maximum flight levels at which airplanes may cruise for up to 3 hours at a given latitude for each month of the year.
The Dangerous Effects of Ozone
Without onboard converters, passengers feel the effects of ozone. In 2015, the Battelle Memorial Institute researched the impact of ozone on 83 domestic flights in the USA. None of the aircraft had converters. It identified one flight with a concentration of 256 parts per billion. At 100 ppb, passengers can experience eye and respiratory tract irritation and at 1,000 ppb, ozone exposure may result in headaches, nausea, and vomiting. The U.S. Environmental Protection agency considers anything over 70 parts per billion to be unhealthy.
To avoid putting passengers in an unhealthy condition, commercial jets have their operation limited, following the before mentioned guidance provided by the aviation authorities (such as FAA and EASA). This operational limitation, although meets the requirements imposed by FAA and EASA, prevents airline from obtaining the best revenue performance from their fleet, as these airplanes would be prevented to fly in the optimum altitude, unrestrictedly.
For those airlines that would like to remove the operational limitation imposed to the aircraft, it can count on Embraer’s Ozone Converter Solution that can be requested as Service Bulletin to its E-Jets fleet.
Converters that Produce Clean Air
Thankfully, converters that are available as optional equipment on Embraer E-Jets virtually eliminate ozone molecules before they enter the aircraft cabin. Each airplane has two units located upstream from the Venturi flow sensor. Air exiting the bleed system passes through the converter, which contains catalytic material that, through a chemical reaction, removes one of the three oxygen atoms in the ozone molecule. The result is a simple oxygen molecule that then enters the aircraft’s air conditioning system. The converters are effective in reducing the overall cabin ozone concentration to an almost negligible 3 ppb.
Better for Everyone
Ozone converters are another example of Embraer’s Services & Support solutions to ensure a healthier on board environment for passengers and crew, along with new sanitizing protocols and high-grade HEPA filters. Embraer’s converters are tested and approved, require minimal maintenance, and install quickly.
It is another example of how we are working to making flying even safer.