It seems the air itself is getting a vaccine developed for it now. In a partnership that features Black & Veatch, Energy Cloud and the University of Southern California, a new air purification device is coming to the market featuring “air vaccine” technology that reportedly can kill COVID-19 particles (up to 99.5% effectiveness) in real time.
Following its development for use in the Hummingbird EQ air purification system, Energy Cloud reached out to Black & Veatch through the company’s COVID-19 Response Accelerator, which helps provide funding to newly emerging solutions so they can get to market faster and prove their effectiveness more confidently.
How the New Technology Works
The system then went through rigorous testing at University of Southern California laboratories where, KMBC News reports it was able to successfully deactivate a COVID-19 sample that was 3,000 times the infectious dose. The patented technology employs a process called photocatalytic oxidation, which allows it to break down harmful gases in the air, as well as viruses like COVID-19.
“As soon as (the virus) goes in there, it’s going to deactivate it on the very first pass,” said Energy Cloud CEO John Carrieri. “If we’re able to deactivate the virus as soon as it goes through, it’s certainly going to help reduce transmission of the virus.”
The system also provides proof of air quality inside buildings through a QR code and URL. “Our system is based on real data, so when someone scans a QR code, they’ll actually see the air quality of the building in real time,” Carrieri explained. For example, systems used inside schools could provide parents with constant updates as to the air quality within.
As to where the device would be used, Energy Cloud says there a wide variety of spaces the versatile device will be able to occupy. The most obvious example, according to Carrieri would be cramped spaces like elevators, but he also cites its potential for use in restrooms, grocery stores, and other locations where there may be large gatherings of people close to one another.
Testing is Key
Carrieri says Black & Veatch was crucial in the testing process, getting the device approved and on its way to fight COVID-19 across the country. Having wanted to test the efficacy of the system with natural air patterns in real-life settings, he something more than the average lab test was going to be required, which was where Black & Veatch’s funding and expertise became invaluable.
For Black & Veatch, the chance to help realize these solutions for others fits in perfectly with its mission.
“Black & Veatch has been very, very forward-thinking … in terms of how we can apply innovation to humanity’s pressing challenges for 100-plus years,” said Pletka. “We can mask, we can vaccinate but … really we need to apply multiple layers of protection in order for us to be able to have some sense of normalcy coming back.”
Ryan Pletka, a member of the design and test team for Black & Veatch, said they wanted “to make sure the design of the test, the protocols… that when it was done it was really done to a level that, as a much larger corporation, (Energy Cloud) would be comfortable standing behind.”