As people around the world continue to combat the spread of COVID-19, it is important to recognize that not all countries have access to the same resources when it comes to addressing this virus. Though the disease can spread through direct contact with an infected person and through the air, research has shown that the virus can also survive on surfaces. Because of this, both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) recommend that frequently touched surfaces should be disinfected at least once every 24 hours.
Unfortunately, the current prices for commonly used forms of disinfectant have made following this guidance unattainable for billions of people across the world. National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) Inductee Ashok Gadgil and his lab at the University of California, Berkeley, set out to solve this by developing a solution they call Electro-Clean, with the goal that it must be extremely low-cost, and can be locally made almost anywhere in the developing world.
Providing Accessible Disinfection for Those in Need
Led by Gadgil and his team of students, the Gadgil Lab for Energy and Water Research created Electro-Clean, “a low-cost production process for a powerful chlorine-based disinfecting solution”, based on a disinfectant that has been approved by WHO, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the CDC. By applying a low-voltage DC potential across inexpensive electrodes immersed in saltwater, Gadgil’s lab has been able to quickly design, test and publish on the web the process to produce a “hypochlorite solution,” that is an inexpensive and effective disinfectant.
Thanks to partnerships with institutions such as IIT Bombay, Potential Energy, the Covenant University of Nigeria and the National Institute of Technology, Mexico, the Gadgil Lab has been able to provide this technology to local host institutions that serve communities in need. Because Electro-Clean uses accessible and inexpensive materials, it represents a compelling disinfectant solution for communities and institutions (schools, colleagues, shopping centers, transportation hubs, etc.) in developing countries.
Learn More About Electro-Clean
We remain grateful for Inductees like Gadgil, whose work benefits the lives of people everywhere, and are amazed at the speed at which he and his lab have been able to develop an accessible disinfecting solution for communities in need.
To learn more about Electro-Clean and all of the incredible work being done in Gadgil’s lab, we invite you to visit the lab’s website.
For more inspirational stories about how our Inductees’ work continues to improve society, check out our blog.