Molekule utilizes a different technology than most other air purification solutions called Photo Electrochemical Oxidation (PECO). Not only do Molekule’s PECO-Filters have fibers that collect polluting particles like standard filters, they are also coated with a proprietary nanocatalyst that actually destroys pollutants in the air. Other filters, like HEPA and carbon, take advantage of simple processes to halt pollutants in their tracks, but these processes only work on pollutants with specific size ranges and chemical characteristics. Molekule’s range goes beyond size and relies on chemistry to eliminate almost all possible pollutants.
Gaseous pollutants: Molekule can destroy them
Unlike many other types of filtration technology, Molekule’s solution is active as opposed to passive. This is particularly apparent with one of the key types of pollution—volatile organic compounds.
The chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) represent a wide variety of substances with a broad range of properties. Almost all VOCs have an odor, and in turn most recognizable odors emitted by solids or liquids are concentrations of certain VOCs. These substances are prevalent in our world because they have useful industrial properties and many are even produced by living things. But some types of VOCs are toxic or can cause allergies, in which case exposure should be kept to a minimum.
Air purification is an effective method of reducing VOCs in the environment since the “V” stands for “volatile,” meaning they evaporate into the air. Until recently, the best method of clearing VOCs from the air involved a carbon air filter. VOCs stick to carbon, so circulating air through a carbon filter will reduce the VOCs in a space as they build up on carbon granules. However, the carbon will gradually become so full of chemicals it becomes ineffective and must be carefully changed to avoid any toxic materials being released. Even if care is taken during filter exchange, there are also conditions, including changes in temperature or humidity, under which the VOCs will come unstuck from the carbon as it sits in the room and the toxins will return to the airstream.
But when VOCs encounter the PECO-Filter something very different happens. The chemical reaction that occurs on the surface of the PECO-Filter doesn’t just stop VOCs, it breaks them down into their component parts through the chemical process of oxidation. All VOCs are susceptible to this process—including odor molecules. As a result VOCs that are processed by a Molekule unit are destroyed and have no chance of returning to the room.
Another gaseous pollutant that is not a VOC is ozone, which can come from the chemical reaction of sunlight with other pollutants from cars, industrial plants, and many other sources. Ozone is removed by carbon like VOCs are removed, but is also subject to destruction by the PECO process.
Airborne contaminants: Molekule can defend against them
There are a number of other organic contaminants in the air that aren’t volatile compounds. Most living things produce substances called allergens that interact with our immune systems and can cause an allergic reaction if we’re exposed to them. Allergens can be from anywhere—molds spores from fungi, dander from animals (including humans), pollen from plants, the invisible bodies of bacteria, and even the leavings of bugs like cockroaches and dust mites.
One of the best ways to avoid an allergic reaction is not to be exposed to allergens in the first place. While touching allergens can sometimes elicit a reaction on the skin, inhaling them so they land on the sensitive tissues of the lungs and throat is almost certain to cause a reaction. Therefore if you suffer from allergies, it’s a great idea to use an air purification solution to minimize the presence of these tiny irritants in the air.
One of the leading methods of eliminating allergens is to circulate your indoor air through a HEPA filter. HEPA filters use a similar passive principle as the carbon filter. They rely on the physical properties of the filter to collect pollutants on the surface so you can delicately exchange it with a fresh filter and discard the old one. This is effective for particles to which allergens become attached like pollen grains and bits of dust, but given that allergens can leave these particles and float through the air on their own, they may escape the HEPA filter and end up back in the room where they can be inhaled. Moreover, studies have shown only a moderate effect of HEPA air purifiers on allergy reduction.
Molekule’s active approach to allergen elimination is more effective than just passive collection. PECO relies on the physical properties of its fibers to halt the allergens, but since the media is coated with an oxidizing nanocatalyst, allergens suffer the same fate as VOCs—they are chemically converted into harmless gasses. Allergens that are halted by PECO don’t end up back in the room because they cease to exist, which means they cannot be inhaled.
Viruses and bacteria
Biological particles are a concern not merely because of their allergenicity, but also because some of them—namely mold spores, bacterial cells, and virus particles—readily reproduce in the right conditions, which in some cases include the human body. HEPA filters can stop these nascent lifeforms from moving around, but the fibers of HEPA media are covered in dust and moisture from the purification process. These microbes eat dust and moisture and while they may be temporarily halted by HEPA, they can grow and even thrive in the filter, and their progeny may then be sprayed back into the room.
However, if one of these living things lands on the PECO-Filter, it is immediately destroyed by the oxidative process that occurs on the surface. Biological particles are then no longer capable of reproduction. In addition, allergens that are part of their bodies are oxidized into safe gases.
Here’s what Molekule can do
The Molekule air purifier not only does a great job of pulling pollutants out of the air, the PECO-Filter inside is literally like a void from where pollutants do not return. Any air that passes through it is sterilized in a safe and effective way, which means mold, bacteria, or viruses can no longer spread through the air and are rendered harmless. Dangerously reactive substances like VOCs and ozone are also converted into safe and natural components into the atmosphere. Thus, when it comes to protecting lungs and throats from biologically active toxins in the air, the oxidative power of the PECO-Filter really stands out.
Go to our website to learn more about PECO, keep an eye on the molekule.com/blog to learn more about air quality, follow our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts for more science-backed ways to improve air quality.