The Airocide air purifier: NASA’s consumer air purifier breakthrough

The Airocide air purifier: NASA’s consumer air purifier breakthrough

The Airocide air purifier is by far the most space-age of filtering technology. This goes beyond the sleek design of the unit available for use in private homes: this purifier was invented by NASA, and has been tested and used in laboratories all over the Earth and in space.

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The Airocide Air Purifier: NASA Technology

Its technology was developed by NASA for use in stations that would be inhabited by humans. The specific technology was developed because there was interest in growing food in space. However, in stations with enclosed air systems, anything put into the air can be a danger to humans.

Plants emit a gas called Ethylene. This is toxic to humans, and needs to be removed from the air. Other air purifying systems often use High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters to catch and remove floating particles. However, these gas molecules are too small to be caught by these standard filters, which can only capture things 0.3 microns or larger.

Because of this, Airocide was originally known as an “ethylene scrubber” during its development at the University of Wisconsin- Madison. While this was the main concern for the purifier’s usage, its effectiveness at removing a variety of contaminants from the air was quickly realized.

But just like on earth, human spaces can be polluted by dust and other particles in the air. While removing gaseous pollution is a first priority, the air purification system also needed to assist in providing a basic level of comfort for the astronauts living in those environments. Airocide also claims to destroy bacteria.  Commercially, it boasts a “99.997% kill rate.” It does not use filters like other appliances used for air purification. Instead of catching particles from the air, this system actually destroys toxins in the air.

Airocide: first applications

Airocide technology has been studied by several institutions and agencies beyond market researchers. This is beyond its use on the Space Station, and testimonies from companies and labs that have been using Airocide systems for over a decade.

The first usage of this technology in the field was on the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1995. During this flight it allowed for the growth of potato seedlings, and since then its use was expanded to include the International Space Station.

Power usage is another concern in outer space, where living situations must both be self-contained, and fairly self-reliant due to the distance from other resources needed for human life. On the market, this is an attractive design feature for the expensive air purifier that resulted from NASA’s research. In a space station setting, it is a necessity for survival, as resources must be divided among life support and other functions.

In 1998, these air purifiers were used to keep food fresh by preventing mold in storage as sensitive as wineries. It is still used for this purpose by major companies for whom food storage is a concern.

The Airocide at Home

It was used in medical settings in 2003, and is now available commercially to private consumers. The technology appeals to those suffering from allergies, pet owners, and anyone else who would benefit from a home with air free of irritants or toxins. These in-home units are physically smaller than the systems used elsewhere, due to the demand for handling a smaller space.

A unique challenge for in-home air purifiers are that they have to be viewed as a part of the room’s setting. Anyone concerned with room design has to take into account the look of these appliances, as they are not something that can usually be hidden away, since air has to pass through them.

The consumer Airocide unit was the winner of the Edison award, which recognizes innovative marketing. This product’s marketing and design are all based around its high tech history, and one of its selling points is its sleek design.

The privately available air Airocide air purifier is versatile and filterless. In a home, it can be mounted to a wall or stood on the floor. Its design also has a decorative edge, seemingly to echo the streamlined space-age technology now available for the home. It can also be used without a stand, and sit on any flat surface.

The Airocide Advantage

Other purifiers, such as those using the standard HEPA filters, work by grabbing and holding particles that we do not want to breath in. Airocide technology focuses on destroying organic pollutants through a chemical process.

The lack of a filter also mean less exposure to irritants, as the process for cleaning it does not include removing the stuff that has been collected in the filter itself. While parts of it do need maintenance, another appeal of these purifiers is that dusting its smooth surface is the most it needs to stay clean.

This research has found that the oxidization process used by Airocide to capture and destroy possibly harmful elements in the air produces no Ozone, and is effective against many bacteria. It has even been found to eliminate anthrax spores.

This unit removes particles and gaseous toxins from the air in a multi step process. It begins by drawing air in via a fan. It is then spread around hollow glass tubes that are coated with a reactive surface. This surface then oxidizes to break down items that may be an issue in the air we breathe. This means the Airocide purifier does more than remove irritants. It cleans the air that passes through it, making it an excellent tool for healthier living.

The chemical process makes it a technically filterless model. That does not mean it works forever with no maintenance. The “reaction chamber” used to process out those pollutants does need replacement once annually.

Want to Own an Airocide Air Purifier?

Airocide filtration systems are a leap forward in air purification systems, as they focus more on removing bacteria for cleaner air than removing gunk floating in it. While there is currently only one unit commercially available for the home, it will be exciting to see what technology will advance from this groundbreaking air purification system.

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