Plasma hand dryer

This innovative new hand dryer offers a hybrid function, it dries and at the same time disinfects the hands. The number of germs on the hand surface as well as in the ambient air is reduced. This is especially useful in areas with strict hygiene restrictions like the food industry or hospitals.


Hand washing is not only performed to wash off dirt but also to prevent the spreading of infections. Especially during the common cold season, hand washing is the single most important protective measure. Unfortunately, when afterwards using a common jet hand dryer, a huge amount of new germs is blown onto the freshly washed hands and, additionally, further germs are distributed into the ambient air.
Alternatively, paper towels offer a better hygiene, but are wasteful and costly, as they are single use and have to be refilled constantly. On the other hand, using hand sanitizer harms the skin of the hands on the long run, making it even more susceptible to infections.

Our Solution

The mentioned problems can be solved by implementing a plasma treatment. The developed device dries the hands with a stream of warm air as usual, but in addition treats the hands with an atmospheric-pressure plasma. The plasma is created by a plasma jet as well as a dielectric barrier discharge.
The treatment kills up to 91 % of the bacteria on the hand surface. Additionally, the hand dryer is designed as a closed system, so no water can splash into the surrounding area and only a small amount of ambient air is used. As a result, 40 % less bacteria are found in the ambient air. The device can be used as easily and comfortable as existing jet hand dryer.

A possible implementation of the plasma hand dryer. (Source: Silke Grimmelmann, Kevin Momoh, Till Papendorf und Fabio Vogel, HAWK)


  • Simultaneous drying and disinfection
  • Reduction of germ contamination on the hands
  • Reduction of germ contamination in the ambient air
  • No consumables


  • Public rest rooms (e.g. service stations, restaurants etc.)
  • Especially suitable for use in sanitary facilities of hospitals or schools or in the food industry

Development Status

  • Studies on the effects of plasma on germs on the skin have been performed
  • Extensive design studies have been performed
  • The concept has been successfully realized

Patent Status

Granted German patent: DE102015119446B3
Granted European patent: EP3373787B1
Granted US patent: US10743727B2
Granted Japanese patent: JP6685523B2
Chinese patent application: CN108348114A
Korean patent application: KR20180081524A

Patent holder:
University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hildesheim/Holzminden/Goettingen (HAWK)


About the effect of plasma on germs and skin:

The successful design of the plasma hand dryer was awarded with three prices:


Dr. Stefan Uhle
Patent Manager Life Science
E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel.: +49 (0) 551 30 724 154
Reference: CPA-1886-HAWK

Tags: Plasma physics


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Georg-August-Universität Göttingen