Large-scale research at Eindhoven University of Technology into aerosols and coronavirus at large sporting event locations.

Johan Cruyff ArenA test location for the spreading and filtering of aerosols

A scientific research project led by Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) into aerosols and COVID-19 should provide fundamental knowledge so that sports buildings are safe and accessible to the public during pandemics.

It is being investigated how aerosols, and possibly also the coronavirus, spread at sports venues. Tests are being carried out in the Johan Cruyff ArenA and Sports Centers CTO Papendal, The Hague and Maaspoort Sports and Events.

Test set-up in the 55,000 seat Johan Cruyff ArenA (Stadium) home to AjaxFC in Amsterdam.

The coronavirus can spread directly, via the exchange of large saliva droplets, and indirectly, via contaminated surfaces. Transmission is also likely to occur via airborne aerosols. These tiny droplets of saliva can hang in the air and travel greater distances than 1.5 meters (the government advised social distance in the Netherlands). Spreading the virus via aerosols would therefore be possible in athletes and/or spectators in a stadium or within a sports hall.

Generators and sensors
In the Johan Cruyff ArenA measurements are first taken without an audience, with artificial aerosol generators in the stands. These generators disperse a comparable amount of aerosols as avid football fans. Various sensors have been placed in between to get a good picture of the distribution of very small saliva droplets.

Finally, it is investigated whether aerosols can be filtered from the air with an air purification system with plasma, glass fiber and carbon filters, which is placed at the each end of the seat rows. TU/e, the ArenA, PlasmaMade (nextgenAir USA) and Ajax would also like to test with the public as soon as the government allows this. The hope is that these tests can take place in January 2021. The research in the ArenA is led by TU/e professor Bert Blocken of the Built Environment faculty, an expert in the field of air currents and building physics.

Infection risk
The researchers are also looking at;
i. the dose and the lifespan of the virus in aerosols, and the risk of infection
ii. the droplet and aerosol transmission by individuals
iii. the aerosol concentrations in sports environments
iv. and the movements of crowds in sports environments

In addition, a general risk analysis methodology is being developed that can help the sports sector and the government to further refine their guidelines and protocols.

The first results are expected to be available in early 2021.

The research project takes place in collaboration with the Leiden University Medical Center, Utrecht University, Johannes Kepler University in Linz, PlasmaMade, GO2Sure and the test locations Johan Cruyff ArenA, Maaspoort Sports and Events via Heroes Den Bosch, CTO Papendal and CTO The Hague.

The collaboration project is co-financed with a PPP allowance. This is made available by Health~Holland, Top Sector Life Sciences & Health, to stimulate public-private partnerships. The research was also made possible by Sportinnovator.

Press coverage:

RTV Oost
View press article

De Telegraaf
View press article

View press article
View press article

RTL Nieuws
View press article

View press article

View press article

Dutch News
View press article

View press article

Een Vandaag
View press article

Ajax Showtime
View press article

View press article

For more information, please contact: