Decontamination of Surgical Masks

The use of surgical masks at the CCU spiked with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, generating higher levels of non-recyclable waste, as well as increased consumable costs in CCU operations. In a bid to try to tackle these challenges, we set out looking for alternatives that would allow us to lower both costs and waste production, in this case, the possibility of reusing the provided surgical masks by some parts of the CCU population.


In July 2020 we got in touch with Wilson Antunes, a Navy Officer and PhD student at ITQB NOVA, who has been developing a “mask decontaminating chamber” based on a “dry decontamination with H2O2 nanoparticles” approach. Since then they have been building the main chamber/isolator (supported by FCT), which allows for the decontamination of around 150 masks at the same time, which should resist ~ 50 cycles and the filtrating results seem promising, according to the researcher. At the moment they are finishing the mask supports inside the isolator, to improve decontamination rates, and developing a pressure control system, which should facilitate the handling by the operator. Wilson confirmed he would be glad to proceed with a prototype design for us, should we be interested in acquiring one chamber for the Foundation. The laboratory tests were successfully finished and they ensure safety, but they are still running the necessary quality control tests so that it has all the quality criteria required to be out in the market. 

Taskforce Status: Suspended