African Physics Newsletter

Botswana Takes to the Air to Combat COVID-19

A drone to kill airborne virus developped in Botswana.

The Botswana International University of Science and Technology in conjunction with the Botswana Defence Force have developed a Drone Sprayer to be used to disinfect the air of open public spaces in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. At this time of lockdown, critical open spaces are those with unavoidable human activities such as hospitals, grocery stores, gasoline stations and quarantine facilities.

Corona virus can remain airborne for even up to eight hours according to some studies.The drone sprayer will help clean the air from the unseen coronavirus in these areas.

Virus that is hard to kill from the ground

The air disinfection by drone is intended to work in collaboration with manual disinfection by humans that targets ground surfaces. The drone will target the airborne corona virus that is hard to kill from the ground.

The drone carries 1.5 liters of 0.5% sodium hypochlorite that can disinfect an air volume of about 3,000 cubic meters, that is, a land area of 600 m2 as it flies at a height of 5 meters - or a land area of 300 m2 from a height of 10 meters. The total time needed to uniformly disinfect a volume of 3,000 cubic meters is about 30 minutes.

Mixing sprayed droplets with natural aerosols

The disinfection process is performed by mixing tiny droplets of the disinfectant released from the drone sprayer with aerosol in the air that may contain the virus. Regular disinfectant spraying limits airborne pathogens.

The Drone Sprayer was developed by the Simulation, Machine Learning, Robotics and Technopreneurship Laboratory (SMaRT Lab) of the Department of Mechanical, Energy and Industrial Engineering. The disinfectant solution was formulated by the Environmental Remediation and Management Laboratory (ERM Lab) of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

For more information about the drone sprayer, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This post is a republication by the African Physics Newsletter of a release by BIUST.

©American Physical Society, 2020.


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