Ultrafine particle removal and ozone generation by in-duct electrostatic precipitators

Dustin G. Poppendieck, Donghyun Rim, Andrew K. Persily

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Human exposure to airborne ultrafine particles (UFP, < 100 nm) has been shown to have adverse health effects and can be elevated in buildings. In-duct electrostatic precipitator filters (ESP) have been shown to be an effective particulate control device for reducing UFP concentrations (20-100 nm) in buildings, although they have the potential to increase indoor ozone concentrations. This study investigated residential ESP filters to reduce ultrafine particles between 4 to 15 nm and quantified the resulting ozone generation. In-duct ESPs were operated in the central air handling unit of a test house. Results for the two tested ESP brands indicate that removal efficiency of 8 to 14 nm particles was near zero and always less than 10% (±15%), possibly due to particle generation or low charging efficiency. Adding a media filter downstream of the ESP increased the decay rate for particles in the same size range. Continuous operation of one brand of ESP raised indoor ozone concentrations to 77 ppbv and 20 ppbv for a second brand. Using commercial filters containing activated carbon downstream of the installed ESP reduced the indoor steady-state ozone concentrations between 6% and 39%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2067-2074
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 4 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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