Shown above is the head office of Hanon Systems in South Korea. The company is working on technology eliminating in-vehicle viruses without filters. Photo courtesy of Hanon Systems

Competition getting stiffer regarding in-cabin air quality

South Korea’s automotive part supplier Hanon Systems said Tuesday that it would come up with an automotive module this year designed to eliminate viruses and odor-causing substances inside the vehicle cabin.

The Daejeon-based corporation, 105 miles south of Seoul, disclosed the plan during the 2023 Korea & Global EV/EV Battery Conference in Seoul hosted by Bank of America between May 15-19.

Hanon Systems developed the technology based on a visible-light LED photocatalyst module for vehicles along with Hyundai Motor, Korea’s leading automaker.

“The new technology uses a catalytic reaction to kill viruses and purify the air as well as suck such gases as ammonia and discharge them to the outside,” Hanon Systems researcher Park Ji-yong said.

“In our trials, the module killed more than 98% of viruses and 87% of bacteria. We tested the technology to prove its safety even under extreme conditions and gained the approval of regulators.”

The technology received the green light from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, according to Hanon Systems.

This March, the new module won the IR 52 Jang Young-sil Award from the Korean government, one of the most prestigious scientific prizes here. Jang was the country’s legendary scientist in the 15th century.

Observers point out that so many companies are competing to achieve breakthroughs in filter-less air purifying technologies across the globe.

“In the aftermath of the virus breakout, an increasing number of motorists pay attention to in-cabin air quality and virus. To meet the demand, development of new innovations is underway,” Daelim University automotive professor Kim Pil-soo said.

“Conventional filter-based air purifying systems revealed many limits. Hence, many suppliers work on filter-less systems. Hanon is one of the leaders in the area.”