The air is dirty and the air is complex. It’s made up of countless different components and to truly get it clean advanced technology is required. To this end, Molekule designed their newest purifier, Air Mini. It holds the same powerful Photo Electrochemical Oxidation (PECO) technology as the original Molekule device, Molekule Air. In both devices, VOCs and other organic pollutants are safely converted into components of the atmosphere like carbon dioxide and water, effectively destroying them. Both devices also capture small invisible particles in the air. The Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) Intertek subjected Air Mini to a toxic cloud of VOCs and also to tobacco smoke and measured their removal in a space about the size of a medium bedroom.
Intertek made sure that their testing protocols conformed to testing standards informed by scientific consensus used in China, Europe, and the US. Also, for this round of VOC testing, the lab used a large 30 cubic meter chamber, which is about 10 feet by 10 feet by 10 feet. Temperature and humidity were kept constant at about 77°F and around 50% RH. Samples were first collected every five minutes for one hour, then every hour for a total of eight hours. The samples were analyzed for the presence of VOCs by high performance liquid chromatography, gas chromatography, and mass spectrometry, the gold standard for chemical detection and analysis. Particle testing was done using a laser aerosol spectrometer and aerodynamic particle sizer according to the industry standard for smoke particle testing, ANSI/AHAM AC-1-2015. Particle measurements were taken every minute.
Capture of smoke particles
Molekule devices don’t just destroy organic matter, they also capture tiny particles from the air. The Intertek team tested this by pumping tobacco smoke into the test chamber. This smoke was generated according to standards set forth by the air purification industry and includes particles of almost all sizes. The results shown below focus on two particle size ranges- particles smaller than 0.3 microns, and particles that range from 0.3 to 1 micron. All particles smaller than 1 micron, also known as PM1, are easily inhaled into the lungs and transferred into the blood where they can damage internal organs.
Since even tiny particles have some weight, they tend to settle out of the air on their own, so the team also conducted what is known as a “natural decay” test. This is just a test without the air purifier running to see how the particles would fall to the ground naturally. We can then compare how many particles disappear as a result of natural decay against how many particles disappear with the air purifier running to get a good idea of how effective the purifier is.
The natural decay is represented by the upper pink line in the graphs below. It’s important to note that outside of the laboratory particles which settle to the ground can easily be stirred up again by foot traffic and air currents.
Small particles were removed by Molekule Air Mini
This chart shows the effect of Molekule Air Mini on particles smaller than 0.3 microns, which is just 300 nanometers or the size of an invisible particle of smoke. As you can see the number of smoke particles dropped quickly in about 23 minutes.
This chart represents particles in the size range of 0.3 microns to 1 micron, which is the size dust particles. All HEPA filters are certified with this method and this method alone to capture particles sized 0.3 microns. As you can see, Molekule Air Mini reduced the number of particles of this size by a large degree over a 20 minute period.
Selection of VOCs to represent indoor pollutants
A cocktail of VOCs representative of typical indoor pollutants were injected into the chamber and mixed with a fan to keep them evenly distributed throughout. The three pollutants were chosen to represent different families of chemical compounds- formaldehyde, toluene, and d-limonene.
Formaldehyde is a carcinogen and in the aldehyde family of compounds, and commonly found in indoor air. It enters the home in the composite woods included in many different types of flooring and furniture.
Toluene is closely related to the pollutants xylene and benzene that are components of gasoline. Paints, varnishes, and lacquers often contain toluene. It has negative neurological effects at even low doses and can cause brain damage after long term exposure.
D-Limonene is a terpene found in citrus plants and is literally the smell of oranges and lemons. Skin allergies are sometimes caused by d-limonene and it has a tendency to form more dangerous substances when it reacts with other pollutants in the air.
VOCs were removed by Molekule Air Mini
Air Mini reduced formaldehyde concentrations by almost 60% over eight hours.
Toluene was no match for Air Mini and was almost completely removed during the test duration.
Of all the pollutants tested, the molecule d-limonene was simplest for Air Mini to remove, rendering it undetectable by the laboratory equipment used in just a few hours.
Molekule Air Mini is also great for the home
The testing above shows that Air Mini captures and destroys to purify the air. This is different than simple filtration because PECO converted the VOCs into different and nontoxic substances, which actually purifies the air. Traditional filters just capture pollutants on their surfaces for later disposal, which Air Mini also can accomplish.
Though these results were done in a lab setting, you can be sure of a similar effect in the home, where Molekule Air Mini can run 24 hours a day to provide a continuous supply of purified air.
You can read the full report on the particles here and the full report on VOCs here.
*D-Limonene removed beyond detection limits