Ozone / Hydroxyl Generators - How They Work
What is Ozone?
Ozone is the second most powerful oxidant in the world, saturates
hard-to-reach spaces and leaves no chemical residue, which is why it is useful for cleaning applications such as
mold eradication and odor removal. It also destroys pathogens such as bacteria and viruses on surfaces making it
an excellent disinfectant. Ozone contains three atoms of oxygen rather than the two in normal air. This extra oxygen
atom will quickly combine with or "oxidize" harmful compounds, causing them to break down. Ozone used
in high enough concentrations to kill odors can also damage the respiratory tissues in humans and animals, and
also tissues in plants, requiring it to be used in unoccupied areas only where pets and plants are removed. Ozone
naturally decays back into normal oxygen within a few hours depending on the temperature.
Ultraviolet Light Ozone Generators
There are two ways to make ozone:
Ultraviolet Light and Corona Discharge. Both methods occur in nature. Most of the planet's ozone is generated in
the upper stratosphere from high-energy solar radiation (Ultraviolet Light) breaking apart oxygen molecules which
temporarily re-form into groups of 3 (trioxide, a.k.a ozone). Also called the ozone layer, this gas shields the
earth's surface from the sun's most dangerous ultraviolet light and makes the sky appear blue.
Ultraviolet (UV) Light Ozone Generators use low pressure UV lamps that generate multiwavelength UV light with two
peaks, one at the 254-nm light band and another at 185-nm. The 185-nm light produces ozone through photolysis of
oxygen molecules, while the 254-nm light photolyzes ozone back into oxygen, which works against the ozone production
process. This second peak is why low pressure UV lamps produce less net ozone (for the energy expended) than corona
discharge ozone generators when operating in cool, dry environments. However, UV light ozone generators produce
ozone at a near constant rate, even when the environment is warm and wet, making them much better in hot, humid
conditions. Plus they do not generate byproducts from nitrogen in the air.
Ultraviolet Light Ozone Generators can remove strong odors and sterilize viruses and microorganisms under harsh
environmental conditions such as high heat and humidity. The premium ultraviolet light ozone generators that we
manufacture are innovative, versatile and can generate high shock levels of ozone. Our price point averages 50
to 75 percent lower than similar output ultraviolet ozone generators sold by competitors. Simply put, we sell serious
ultraviolet ozone generators to customers who want high-performing products at the lowest prices. Plus, we stand
behind every product we sell with a money-back guarantee.
Corona Discharge Ozone Generators
In the lower
atmosphere, ozone is generated by static electricity during lightening strikes which also break apart oxygen molecules
that temporarily reform as ozone. Corona discharge is a similar static shock process that can be generated using
household electricity. The first man-made ozone machine used two glass tubes wrapped in tin, one inside of the
other so that air could circulate in the space between them. When the surrounding conductor was energized with
high voltage it ionized the air near the conductor surface resulting in an electrical discharge that produced ozone.
Corona discharge is the most efficient way to produce a large volume of ozone from cool, dry ambient air.
Corona discharge ozone generators use metal electrodes attached to an insulating, dielectric plate that supports
an electrostatic field without heating up excessively. An electronic transformer is used to convert standard low
frequency household power into high frequency, high voltage that can produce large quantities of ozone from the
ambient air that passes over the metal electrodes. Ozone production technology has improved significantly over
the years. Compact, double-sided corona discharge plates can produce 8 to 16 grams of ozone per hour from a single
transformer, allowing a small machine to quickly saturate an area with ozone. However, cool dry air is required
for maximum output, and high humidity can result in undesirable corrosion from nitrogen compounds that accumulate
on the plates. But when the temperature and humidity can be controlled, corona discharge ozone generators are the
most efficient choice for the cost.
High-output corona discharge ozone generators remove strong odors and sterilize bacteria, viruses and mold spores
in minutes. The portable corona discharge models we manufacture are the industry's most powerful units for their
size. The key to high ozone output is having a perfect balance between transformer size and frequency that matches
the conducting plates. The powerful, high-frequency transformers we use generate 18,000 corona discharges per second
across the plate surface area, producing much more ozone than was possible within a small footprint in the past.
Whether it's for a home, office or vehicle, you'll want a BoiE to do the job quickly and completely.
See our full line of Ozone Generator Machines
What is a Hydroxyl Generator?
Hydroxyls are formed in nature
by the reaction of UV light from the sun disassembling water vapor (H20) into hydroxyl radicals (*OH) which have
unpaired electrons. Atmospheric hydroxyl radicals react with and neutralize concentrated pollutants in outdoor
air. However, with an average life of less than a second, natural hydroxyls have little affect on indoor air. Commercial
hydroxyl generators duplicate the effects of outdoor hydroxyl production by circulating indoor air through a chamber
where hydroxyl reactions occur. Hydroxyls start chain reactions with contaminants that partially break down pollutants
with each pass through the machine until all that reamins is carbon dioxide and water.
Hydroxyl generators are widely used by water and fire damage restoration companies along with mold remediation
professionals because the hydroxyl radicals generated are non-toxic to humans and work exceptionally well in hot,
humid environments to remove the same contaminants as ozone along with many more, although over a longer period
of time. Where a two-hour ozone treatment would be sufficient, a hydroxyl generator might take three times as long
to achieve similar results, but the treatment area can generally remain occupied and the hydroxyls do not cause
damage to sensitive materials such as natural rubber and certain adhesives that concentrated ozone could affect.
Types of Hydroxyl Machines
two methods to generate hydroxyls for indoor air purification: Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO) or an Advanced Oxidation
Process (AOP). Each method has advantages and disadvantages. PCO is the only method that can be left running unmonitored
in occupied spaces without requiring fresh air ventilation. Contaminants are oxidized by hydroxyls that form along
the surface of a UV light-activated catalyst that abstracts hydrogen atoms from water molecules in the air.
AOP methods produce hydroxyls from chemical reactions that occur in the air, usually in the presence of UV light
without requiring contact with a catalyst. Also called direct hydroxyl production (DHP), the advantage of AOP is
that more hydroxyls can potentially form because production is not limited to a catalyst surface. The disadvantage
is that byproducts including ozone and hydrogen peroxide may reach harmful levels to humans in some environments,
requiring an area to be unoccupied or closely monitored for occupant or worker safety while machines are running.
PCO was developed with a specific intent not to harm occupants in a closed environment. PCO can use either safe-to-view
UV-A black light or shielded UV-C germicidal light and several types of permanent catalysts. AOP includes low-concentration
ozone and/or hydrogen peroxide vapor that breaks down in the presence of UV-C germicidal light. With either method,
the hydroxyls produced quickly react with VOCs and inorganic gases in cascading reactions that can follow the air
stream outside the generator as partially-oxidized contaminants drive further reactions until they are reduced
to carbon dioxide and water.
Hydroxyl generators are used in the restoration industry in high-humidity environments where ozone is less effective,
especially after floods or fires have been extinguished and materials are very wet. Hydroxyl generators are often
run at the site in the days before serious work starts on a restoration project to help purify the air and prevent
mold from taking hold. Hydroxyl radicals react with over 5,000 compounds and will break apart odors from fire and
smoke, category 2 & 3 water losses, chemical fumes, fuel oil, VOCs, trauma, etc. without damaging sensitive
contents that concentrated ozone might.
See our full line of Hydroxyl Generator Machines
Why Customers Trust BoiE
We have been in business since 1999 and are well-known throughout the indoor air quality (IAQ) industry. We offer
environmental training and manufacture the best ozone generators and hydroxyl generators available. We offer a
30-day money-back guarantee, a 1-year unlimited warranty and lifetime customer support. Read our FAQs page for
terms, conditions, and lead times.
We take pride in our products and training and are always there to offer help and support. We know how much your
business reputation depends on using reliable products with top-notch support if anything goes wrong. We are on
the cutting edge of the industry and are always looking for ways to improve our products and offer you more value.
We build the best ozone and hydroxyl generators on the market today. Every unit is assembled in-house and goes
through quality control and rigorous testing before we ship. If something goes wrong or wears out, we carry every
part and will offer the best solution to get you up and running quickly!