Part 2: Air Wars -Why HEPA Technology Should Be Consigned To History

In part one of Air Wars, we looked at the history of HEPA (high efficiency particulate air filter) and whilst HEPA filtration is often thought of as a ‘standard’ for providing indoor air quality, it represents old and outdated technology, having first been introduced in the 1940’s and remained largely unchanged ever since.

However, it’s not just that it is old technology; HEPA filters are thick, cumbersome, require replacing regularly and are also expensive. Further, and most importantly, because the technology is so outdated and cumbersome, viruses are live and present in the air until they reach the filter, thus exposing and potentially infecting anyone in its path.

Enter a new technology, cleaner, environmentally friendly and less expensive than HEPA, which — such is the threat to the traditional HEPA vendors, has been on the receiving end of an alleged smear campaign in the US, which has seen the case subject to lawsuits.

And there’s a good reason why the HEPA vendors are worried about needlepoint bipolar ionisation (NPBI) technology, so let’s take a closer look at it.

Needlepoint Bipolar Ionisation

And that misunderstanding even stretches to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who on their own website confuse it with BPI (bipolar ionisation). The need to clarify exactly what is NPBI is clear.

NPBI is a patented technology from US company Global Plasma Solutions. To explain it, we need to first compare a typical indoor environment with the outdoors. In the case of the latter, natural ions exist which are constantly cleaning the air. For good reason do we say, “I’m just going outside to get some fresh air”.

However, the story indoors is very different, because this is where all kinds of pollutants, from dust, smoke, chemicals and pathogens (viruses and bacteria) exist in the air that we breathe. NPBI works by re-creating natural levels of ions indoors to neutralise pollutants and pathogens. It also does this in tandem with existing heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems by creating ions which attach to particles, making them larger and therefore easier to filter from the air.

Crucially, unlike the older BPI, NPBI technology does this without producing any harmful ozone or other by-products. This is the primary reason why the distinction between NPBI and other forms of electro air filtration systems must be made.

Harmful to the environment

But there’s one other very good reason to consign HEPA technology to the history books: its impact on the environment. Because HEPA actually creates more NO2 than it eliminates. And as we know, NO2 is harmful to both the environment and to our health.

The global climate crisis is very real, we only need to look at Europe and the west coast of American to see the damage the wildfires are causing, or Louisiana and New York to see the devastation the floods have caused. The world is waking up to the importance of going greener, as such we are using products that reduce our carbon footprint, not add to it.

Oh, and those bulky filters? They cannot be recycled and therefore end up in landfill.

Stop The Stink

But the benefits of NPBI technology don’t stop at eradicating viruses and bacteria, because it has two remarkable properties which neither HEPA nor any other kind of air filtration do not: the ability to remove odours and also the ability to preserve fresh produce.

Clenzair, the UK’s distributor for NPBI technology recently hit the headlines when it installed its units in homes in Silverdale, the site of Walleys Quarry, the landfill site which is creating a living nightmare for local residents with its constant emission of hydrogen sulphide. After installation of Clenzair NPBI units, the overpowering smell all but disappeared.

No CO2, No Problem

And with the very real shortage of carbon dioxide impacting the food supply chain, they are about to hit the headlines again because a little known benefit of NPBI technology is that it preserves food produce.

Seeing is believing:

Bring In The New

The chorus of dissent and gnashing of teeth from the HEPA community will no doubt continue unabated but more than anything, that increasingly appears a perverse endorsement, such is the superiority of NPBI.

However, one thing’s for sure, there’s now a new technology which is revolutionising indoor air quality (IAQ) while not harming the planet. And that has to be good news for us all.



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Andrew Busby

Andrew Busby

Global Industry Leader Retail at Software AG, founder Retail Reflections, best selling author, former Forbes contributor, global retail influencer.