Air purification in underground parking facilities : Genano participates in a public private partnership seeking an efficient solution.
Antwerp entrepreneur Marc Van Mael is offering the city council and scientists a solution for the air pollution issues related to the parking garage on the Gedempte Zuiderdokken. The company in which Van Mael has a stake, Genano oy in Finland, has many years of experience in air purification projects worldwide. In collaboration with the Dutch VFA Solutions and the Arsac group, Genano oy is now also setting up a company in Belgium in order to make these ready-made air purification solutions available.
If everything goes according to plan, the parking facility on the filled-in former docks known as the Gedempte Zuiderdokken should open at some point in 2020. The idea of constructing a parking facility underground on the Gedempte Zuiderdokken was not new, but local residents sounded the alarm bell. They feared that the emissions from the concentration of polluted air from the parking garage ventilation system would create an extra burden on the environment. ‘If this is the only obstacle, you can perfectly solve it by purifying the parking garage air before it enters the surrounding outdoor air,’ says Marc Van Mael, investor and director at Genano, a Finnish company specialised in air purification which, for this project and others like it, is collaborating with scientists from VFA Solutions in the Netherlands. ‘The researchers at the University of Antwerp are considering the various options, fully independently, through simulations in other public car parks in Antwerp and later, there will be the public tendering procedure. In any case, we are ready with the right solutions,’ says Marc Van Mael.
One of the possibilities is that, by using air purifiers based on ESP technology, the concentrated air in the parking garage can be purified before it enters the environment via the ventilation system. ‘ESP technology uses electrostatic precipitation, so that the particulate matter is first ionized and then collected by collector plates, capturing up to 99% of the most harmful fine dust particles. Another advantage of the technology is that it is very energy efficient, does not use traditional (HEPA) filters that need to be replaced, captures the most harmful UFP and does not take up any parking space.’
Genano is best known in Northern Europe for air purification in indoor spaces such as hospitals, schools, companies, clean rooms and public spaces. ‘In countries such as Finland, more attention is being paid to the quality of indoor air and its effect on health. Partly because of the extreme insulation there, air quality problems arise (moulds, etc.),’ says Marc Van Mael. ‘But also in Belgium, awareness is growing, for example for schools that have an unfavourable location in terms of air quality. Around here, we have similar issues that are known as “sick building syndrome”, and on top of that, polluted air is also brought in through the ventilation system. We have currently carried out some 300 projects in Belgium, and thousands worldwide’.