NH startup’s technology battles aerosol transmission of Covid-19
Product address ‘urgent need to clean our indoor air now’
The Bristol-based company, Air Cleaners Inc.— formed by airflow experts from the semiconductor clean room and data center industry — was created to address aerosol transmission of pathogens using the experience and insight of its founders based on their decades of work in modeling airflows in “mission-critical” facilities.
The new product is called the Clean Air Curtain. It combines HEPA filtration and ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) with an “air curtain” high-velocity exhaust to create a separation in local indoor airspaces.
This approach – combining HEPA level filtering with UVGI lighting in a small, portable, desktop package – produces the cleanest air possible while providing significant advantages.
The technology was developed by Paul Bemis, president and CEO of the company, Chris Ames, chief operating officer. Both have experience in the “mission critical” data center market and have worked on airflow modeling in a variety of indoor environments, including semiconductor clean rooms, research laboratories and casinos.
They say that their background in the field of fluid dynamics to model air flow provided the insights that led to development of the technology. In that process, they made use of computational fluid dynamics simulations to build “virtual prototypes” that sped the development process and a series of simulations and webinars were conducted to predict how the product will behave in various indoor environments. The solution produced performed well right from the beginning, they say.
The Clean Air Curtain is complementary to local HVAC systems, as many buildings are without whole-building HVAC systems, or have inadequate fresh air ventilation. In these cases, the best method of clearing the air of pathogens is to use portable filtration devices, according to the company.
“We have an urgent need to clean our indoor air now, and this has drawn our attention to the continuing need to remove pathogens, pollutants, and particulates from the air that we breathe and share,” said Ames. “Our HEPA filters capture 99.995% of particles, and our UV kills them within seconds. The high-velocity vertical plume generated from our Clean Air Curtain provides a barrier, deflects airborne pathogens up and away from the area, and ensures the critically needed circulation for eliminating areas of high pathogen concentration. No other device has ever combined these multiple benefits.”