The Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) in conjunction with the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) has designed a drone chemical sprayer to be used to disinfect open public spaces in the fight against COVID-19 Pandemic.
During the lockdown, targeted critical public spaces where the drone will be used include hospitals, grocery stores, petrol stations and quarantine facilities. The drone will target airborne Coronavirus that is hard to kill from the ground, so in that sense, the drone is expected to work in collaboration with the manual disinfection of ground surfaces.
The drone has a 1.5 l of 0.5% sodium hypochlorite capacity and can disinfect around 3,000 cubic meters of air. This translates to a land area of 600 sqm at the height of 5 m, or a land area of 300 sq metres at a height of 10 metres. The total time needed to uniformly disinfect the air volume of 3,000 cubic meters is around 30 minutes. The disinfection process is performed by mixing tiny droplets of the disinfectant released from the drone sprayer with an aerosol into the air within areas that may contain the virus. Continuously doing this will limit airborne pathogens.
The drone carries a maximum load of 1.5 kg and 750 ml disinfectant. The disinfectant solution is formulated by the Environmental Remediation and Management Laboratory (ERM Lab) in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.
BIUST has not been resting on its laurels as it has also collaborated with Morupule Coal Mine to produce soap bars, liquid soap and sanitisers to help contain COVID-19. BIUST Engineering and Technology Faculty Dean said the products would be donated to the most vulnerable people in and around Palapye.