Antimicrobial surface coating for ships hotels

As concern about the Covid-19 coronavirus grows, a promising
new antimicrobial surface coating is being marketed to hospitality and
transportation companies. 

Its maker, Act.Global, founded in 2013, offers a proprietary
Premium Purity system that involves the application of Act CleanCoat, a
transparent, odorless coating that the company says decomposes microbes,
including bacteria, viruses, mold spores and volatile organic compounds. 

Richard Tubb, a retired U.S. Air Force brigadier general and
former White House physician, is now an informal advisor to Act.Global. 

“We had SARS in 2002, MERS-CoV in 2012 and now the
coronavirus almost 10 years later,” Tubb said. “These types of things come and
go, but they will never fully go away. What we need is a containment approach
to allow us the luxury of turning our attention to discovery of treatment and
prevention, while also restoring people’s confidence in a way that will get
them to engage with the economy.”

Hotels in a number of countries and the cruise line Lindblad
Expeditions are among the early adopters of Denmark-based Act.Global’s product.

The coating’s key ingredient is titanium dioxide, a
nontoxic, naturally occurring compound often used in paints, sunscreen and
toothpaste, among other products.

The company claims that, once exposed to sunlight or
artificial light, a photocatalytic reaction activates the coating, producing a
continuous surface- and air-purification cycle.

According to Act.Global, the coating has undergone extensive
testing and has been approved by several independent laboratories, including
the Dr. Brill and Dr. Steinman Institute for Hygiene and Microbiology in
Germany, ISI Food Protection in Denmark and Chang Gung University on Taiwan.

While still relatively new, the company is marketing its
Premium Purity system to a variety of commercial and industrial venues,
including hotels. To date, the company has launched the system in a dozen
hotels throughout Denmark, Germany, India and Thailand.

Christopher Luscher, the company’s chief technology officer,
said, “Act.Global is founded on the premise of sustainable disinfection, and
what we have seen in the hospitality sector is that we’ve been able to convert
the method of cleaning so it’s less like a firefighter coming in and trying to
fight a fire and more like the installation of fire-resistant materials.”

In the hotel setting, the company’s CleanCoat can be applied
on almost any fixed surface, hard or soft, though Luscher said his rule of
thumb is that “if the Mona Lisa is hanging on the wall, it’s best to take it
down.” After the coating is applied, it takes two hours to set. 

How it works

Post-application cleanliness is maintained with the use of
an ecofriendly and affordable cleaning agent called Act ECA (for
electrochemically activated) water. The water is produced using an Act ECA
Generator, which is installed on-site and requires just two ingredients: water
and salt. 

Coating costs vary greatly by region and venue. Act.Global
sells Premium Purity with a three-year service contract.

Hotels aren’t the only settings in which an antimicrobial
coating offers a promising solution. In the wake of the Covid-19 crisis,
Luscher reported that the company is seeing a surge in demand from airports and
restaurants as well as from airlines, railways and cruise ships.

Among the first cruise lines to adopt Premium Purity is
Lindblad Expeditions, which deployed the system aboard its National Geographic
Explorer ship in mid-2018.

Bruce Tschampel, Lindblad’s vice president for hotel
operations, said, “We’re very careful about the environment, and we were
looking for options for a green cleaning method that used less chemicals and
plastic. Also, with cruise lines, we have to be absolutely clean and sanitary
because you’re in this small environment, and someone could bring on a cold,
and it’s easily passed around.”

The results made a compelling case for the product.

Following the National Geographic Explorer’s trial run,
Tschampel said, the company “reduced guest-reported illness by 50%, eliminated
over 1,000 plastic bottles of cleaning products and reduced water usage by 1.1
million gallons per year.” 

Lindblad has since announced plans to adopt Premium Purity
across its entire fleet, coating all of its eight ships, including all public
areas and guest and crew cabins. The process is set to be completed by early
March. Lindblad’s newest ship, the Endurance, will also be using the system
when it debuts next month. 

“There is a choreography that has to be managed, whether you’re
a hotel or a ship,” Tschampel said. “How do you get all these areas coated, and
when is the right time to do it? But so far, we’re extremely pleased, and there
are so many benefits. The results have been even better than we expected.”

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