Hong Kong’s MTR Corporation has deployed an automated Vapourised Hydrogen Peroxide Robot (VHP Robot) to carry out deep cleaning and decontamination in train compartments and stations.

This is expected to boost hygiene and health protection for passengers and staff amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

A co-invention arising from a joint project of MTR and Hong Kong-based biotechnology firm Avalon Biomedical (Management), the VHP Robot automatically sprays a hydrogen peroxide solution that is atomised to a specific concentration.

The robot ensures that disinfectants get into even small gaps that are otherwise difficult to reach during the regular cleaning process. This process can eliminate viruses and bacteria, including staphylococcus aureus, E.coli and so on.

VHP Robot has passed through relevant tests and is claimed to have achieved the required results.

In the event disinfection is to be carried out, the operator can preset the VHP Robot to operate automatically by pre-setting the floorplan of the required area. The operator can also remotely control the robot manually with a mobile device within a distance of 20m.

It usually consumes about four hours to complete the cleaning of an eight-car train in automatic mode. However, under a special situation such as a passenger vomiting on a train, MTR employees can deploy VHP Robot to carry out deep cleaning in addition to the regular cleaning with diluted bleach water.

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The VHP Robot was recently deployed to disinfect the back-of-house area at Mong Kok East Station after a staff member was diagnosed with Covid-19.

MTR Corporation operations director Dr Tony Lee said: “We fully understand our passengers’ concerns about hygiene in their travelling environment, especially amid the current Covid-19 outbreak.

“While MTR has comprehensively strengthened cleaning and disinfection work in the railway network, we have also continued to actively explore feasible enhancements.

“We plan to deploy a total of 20 VHP robots for train cleaning in depots and hope this helps to ensure the comfort of passengers’ journeys by providing ever-greater health protection for our colleagues and our customers alike. We are very happy to be collaborating with Avalon and are very encouraged by the results.”