NoviSphere™ Installs Three Pathogen-Eradication Units At Green Bay Austin Straubel International Airport

First NoviSphere™ PE 254 pathogen-eradication units installed just five months after launch

NoviSphere™, a developer of comprehensive rarified-environment solutions, today announced it has installed three NoviSphere™ PE 254 pathogen-eradication units at Green Bay [Wis.] Austin Straubel International Airport (GRB), just five months after launching the company and product in November 2020. GRB selected the units to help take its "New Level of Clean" initiative to a whole new level.

NoviSphere™ PE 254 pathogen-eradication unit at Green Bay Austin Straubel International Airport
NoviSphere™ PE 254 pathogen-eradication unit at Green Bay Austin Straubel International Airport

"During the past year, we've invested a substantial amount of time and money into processes, products and equipment to ensure passenger health and safety during the pandemic," explained GRB Airport Director Marty Piette, A.A.F. "The NoviSphere units substantially build on that effort."

NoviSphere delivers scientifically proven UV-C light, together with proprietary baffling technology, to kill 99.99% of airborne pathogens, including the coronavirus. "Recognizing the need for clean, germ-free air in many public settings, we began developing our technology even before the pandemic hit," stated NoviSphere CEO Paul Lockhart, a former NASA astronaut and Air Force pilot. "The advent of COVID-19 upped the urgency of getting our pathogen eradicator into these environments. Our partnership with GRB demonstrates the airport's confidence in our technology and is an important step in helping restore the public's trust in traveling safely."

GRB is the first airport in the country to install the NoviSphere PE 254 systems. Two units are located on the main terminal floor: one in baggage claim and one near the elevator and escalators. The third unit is located on Concourse B. Each ceiling-mounted unit provides continuous pathogen eradication for up to 13,000 cubic feet of volume.

"People are starting to travel once again, and this should provide an added layer of reassurance to them as we get back to a more normal way of living," added Piette.

Brown County [Wis.] Executive Troy Streckenbach said, "Today's announcement shows the airport's commitment to a safe travel environment. Air travel, be it for leisure or business, is an important driver of our local economy, which is why we're pleased to see people flying again. We hope that trend continues as more people are vaccinated and our lives return to normal."

ABOUT GREEN BAY AUSTIN STRAUBEL INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
GRB serves all of Northeast Wisconsin and portions of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. It is one of only two commercial airports in Wisconsin designated as a Landing Rights Airport by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection for international flight arrivals. To learn more, go to: www.flygrb.com and visit GRB's Facebook page or follow the airport on Twitter.

ABOUT NOVISPHERE
NoviSphere stands for "new environments." We deliver viral, pathogen and bacteria-free environments for a variety of applications and industries through demonstrated barrier protection and assured environmental quality. Our integrated components and pathogen-eradication systems are based on validated scientific methods that eliminate biohazardous material and other airborne contaminants from enclosed settings of any size, while our rarified, "move-in-ready" environments are designed to eliminate risk and promote occupant health and safety. To learn more, visit www.novisphere.com, and follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter.


air purification

UV-C Bests Bipolar Ionization in Eradicating Pathogens

By Joe Cestari, NoviSphere COO

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, interest has skyrocketed in technologies that clean and purify air by trapping and/or killing pathogen-carrying particles. These technologies, however, don’t eliminate pathogens with equal efficacy. Some familiar approaches, such as using HEPA or ULPA filters, are unable, on their own, to eradicate all types of pathogens, and they are not proven in all cases to eliminate coronaviruses.

Two more complex techniques purport to offer a high degree of effectiveness for inactivating pathogens: bipolar ionization and germicidal ultraviolet (UV-C) radiation. They function very differently, and it’s our belief that the latter technology, integrated into the NoviSphere™ PE 254 pathogen eradicator using our proprietary approach, is the better alternative.

What is bipolar ionization?

Needlepoint bipolar ionization devices apply high voltage across two electrodes to generate a plasma of high-energy ions that interact with air to form oxygen radicals and other ions. The disinfection mechanism of bacteria by air ions is generally summarized as a generated electrostatic force acting on the pathogen. Using air ions as an inactivation mechanism against airborne microorganisms remains controversial. One reason is that, in using this approach, one is modifying the room air by creating charged particles, an approach that suffers from unpredictable variability in pathogen inactivation. This is particularly true given the diversity of pathogenic aerosol particles (e.g., bacteria, viruses, fungi, spores, etc.) that may be present in indoor air. The charged particles may have enough energy to disrupt the protein structure of a virus or other pathogen; however, the efficacy will be highly dependent on the primary protein structure of the pathogen and the energy of the charged particle. The airborne ions may simply electrostatically bind to aerosol particles and cause them to settle out (via gravity) onto surrounding surfaces without full inactivation, imparting infection risk to these surfaces.

Another consideration of bipolar ionization as a means to destroy airborne pathogens is the risk of generating toxic ozone – a highly oxidative compound that can be harmful to occupants of the indoor area. Also, as it is a newer room-purification technology, limited independent scientific data has been reported on its efficacy, and there remain no established testing protocols available.  For these reasons,  the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has chosen not to take a position on bipolar ionization. Without this data, manufacturers may also overstate the potential ventilation energy savings (for which additional sensors with a high initial cost may be required).

What are the benefits of UV-C?

UV-C radiation is not new – hospitals and other settings have employed UV-C for more than four decades to inactivate germs, viruses, bacteria and other pathogens. UV-C works by disrupting the nucleic acid of the pathogen, making it unable to replicate and thrive, and thus rendering the microorganism no longer infectious. An inactivated virus particle, if reintroduced into the room air, cannot replicate or cause infection – because it’s dead!

The NoviSphere PE 254 device combines UV-C arrays with proprietary baffling technology that enhances the residence time of the pathogens in the presence of the UV-C radiation. The PE 254 device has been designed to operate at various velocities, while simultaneously helping ensure that all pathogen-containing aerosol particles are irradiated and effectively inactivated up to the desired flow rate (velocity). And because the UV-C arrays are fully contained within the unit, it is completely safe for use in highly trafficked areas or any occupied space – there is no danger of human exposure or damage to skin or eyesight. In continuous operation, the unit ensures that room air is changed multiple times per hour, with no living virions or other pathogens remaining. Our “direct kill” approach utilizes proven technology that can be effectively tested and benchmarked, and it aligns with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic (“Guidance for Businesses and Employers Responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19),” updated Jan. 4, 2021).

The CDC noted that installing transparent shields or physical barriers is beneficial but not sufficient: “Even in a large open office, with an employee 200 feet away from another, the virus can still transmit through the circulation of air.” To lower the likelihood of transmission, the CDC recommends:

  • Using natural ventilation, when possible
  • Increasing airflow by using portable high-efficiency particulate air filtration systems
  • Using ultraviolet germicidal irradiation as a supplement to help inactivate the virus

The CDC's recommendation for ultraviolet germicidal irradiation refers to ASHRAE’s position on airborne infectious diseases, which states: “ASHRAE will continue to support research that advances the state of knowledge in the specific techniques that control airborne infectious disease transmission through HVAC systems, including ventilation rates, airflow regimes, filtration, and ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI).” ASHRAE suggests two UV-C strategies: installation into air handlers or ventilating ducts and irradiation of the upper air zones of occupied spaces with shielding of the lower occupied spaces. These strategies work to sanitize the air in a space while keeping occupants safe from the harmful effects of ultraviolet light.

Our NoviSphere PE 254 achieves the latter objective, and it can be installed into air ducts, or used as a standalone or portable installation. As our Feb. 4 blog post highlights, independent testing conducted at the University of Minnesota validated that the unit is 99.99% effective in eradicating a wide range of pathogens, including coronavirus. The full results are detailed in an article, currently available for review, that will be published in Environmental Science & Technology. (To download the full study, click here.)

Taken together, we believe all of this data offers compelling evidence for the choice of UV-C irradiation as a safer, more reliable and better regulated approach to pathogen eradication than bipolar ionization.


worst indoor air quality

Safe to Go Back? Fixing Shopping Malls’ Indoor Air Quality Problem

By NoviSphere™ Staff

COVID-19 has made 2020 a year that most will not be sorry to see end. While fast-tracked vaccines are currently being rolled out, offering hope for some return to normalcy, scientists agree that this will not be the last global pandemic. Clean, pure air must be a top priority if we are to prevent the spread of future viruses and other airborne illnesses.

This raises an issue that many of us likely hadn’t thought about too much in the “old days”: the overall air quality of high-traffic public areas such as malls, restaurants, theaters and sports arenas, to name a few. It turns out, for most of these settings, their air quality is problematic. This post is the first in a series that will examine the challenges associated with some of these venues and how NoviSphere addresses them.

Poor indoor air quality is changing consumers’ shopping preferences

Due to the pandemic, this holiday season looks very different for everyone. Many retailers and providers of shipping services predict it will be the largest online shopping holiday season in history, with fewer consumers going out physically to shop than ever before. Small wonder, as it turns out that malls top the list of places with the worst indoor air quality, according to the nonprofit site Environmental Pollution Centers.

Many malls house businesses that can generate high levels of harmful particulates, such as dry cleaners, food courts, salons and paint stores, and the buildings’ ventilation systems typically pull in dust, smoke and pollen from outside air. Further compounding this, we now realize the additional hazards posed by germs – i.e., potential pathogens – expelled into the air by shoppers and store employees in highly crowded conditions. Doesn’t sound like the fun day of shopping you might have in mind?

A new approach to indoor air quality is here

What will it take to convince consumers to step through the mall doors again? How can they be convinced that retail environments are no longer at the top of the worst indoor air quality list? For many, knowing they’re breathing a continuous supply of clean, fresh air will be the tipping point. NoviSphere can make this happen by putting in place rarified-air environments that keep you safe and decrease the spread of airborne illnesses. The NoviSphere™ PE 254 system continuously circulates air through the unit, which contains proprietary baffling technology to entrap pathogens and an array of germicidal 254-nm ultraviolet (UV-C) lights to kill them. This “kill zone” is fully sealed within the system, so it’s completely safe ­– and effective – for use in heavily trafficked locations like malls. The NoviSphere PE 254 runs 24/7 to ensure a safe, pathogen-free shopping environment through COVID-19 and beyond.

We look forward to working with retailers to integrate the NoviSphere PE 254 – as well as future NoviSphere technology offerings – into their venues. Our goal is to help the world get “back to normal” so that people can be out and about, enjoying the holiday shopping season as soon as possible, knowing that they’re protected from airborne pathogens. And the next pandemic? We look forward to helping stop it in its tracks.


A New Approach to Clean Environments

By Joe Cestari, Chief Operating Officer, NoviSphere

I’ve always been fascinated by technology and its ability to positively impact people’s quality of life. After earning my engineering degree, I was drawn to tech companies with this same focus and objective. Along the way, I became very interested in the holistic approach to the supply chain: building an ecosystem that establishes the most efficient and effective way to design, manufacture, and supply products and services for life-science or microelectronics products that can help solve world problems is highly valuable to me.

This interest has come into play in various positions I’ve held, and it ultimately led to my becoming part of NoviSphere. The notion for creating a new kind of company focused on clean air and environments came about several years ago – long before the Covid-19 pandemic erupted. At the time, while I was an advisor for Integrated Engineering Services (IES), I met up with Paul Jenkins, the founder and CEO of Bancroft Architects & Engineers (BAE), and Phil Lasarsky, CFO of BAE. Paul founded Bancroft in 2009 to design and engineer world-class health-care facilities for veterans. We began to talk about developing ultraclean environments, something that Paul had also discussed with former NASA astronaut Paul Lockhart, who also had a strong interest in the subject based on his own background and experience. This shared mindset was the germ of the idea that evolved into NoviSphere, of which Paul Lockhart became CEO.

Currently, the market for clean environments is highly fragmented. Companies that need to build and operate them face a long road of designing, subcontracting, and tapping multiple resources to integrate a solution that meets their needs. Our vision is for NoviSphere to become a true single source for creating highly rarified environments. As a turnkey provider of design, integration, autonomous monitoring and sustainment services, we’ll eliminate customers’ need to hire separate companies for each of these steps. Instead, our team will consult with them to develop and manage their projects from end to end, using a standard offering of products or one customized for their specific application. When complete, they will have an environment certified to deliver ultraclean, particulate- and pathogen-free air.

We intend to achieve this vision within five years, and we have a plan in place to ensure that we get there – starting with our first product, which we rolled out last week with the public launch of the company. NoviSphere™ PE 254 is our proprietary system that uses 254nm germicidal UV-C light sealed inside the unit to kill up to 99.99% of airborne viruses, bacteria and mold spores, continuously monitoring and changing room air up to four times an hour. Our system doesn’t just trap pathogens, it eradicates them, and it keeps the air circulating better than any other product that I’ve seen.

We took a holistic approach to designing NoviSphere PE 254 to ensure that we could deliver the best technology with the highest integrity, while never losing sight of how the product fits into our larger vision. To confirm that it could do what we needed it to, we enlisted the University of Minnesota to conduct independent tests, which verified that 99.99% eradication figure, and we’re proud to be able to stand behind those testing results. Moreover, we expect further testing in the coming year to validate NoviSphere PE 254’s effectiveness to 99.9999999%, or 1 part per billion. This will be a huge benefit for customers – even a 0.0001% failure rate sounds small, but with a lethal virus load, it’s more than enough to be fatal.

It’s exciting to be part of a company that is making this kind of game-changing technology available. Even more gratifying for me personally is the opportunity to participate in helping bring to life complete rarified environments that help keep people healthy and safe. Our next offering, which we look forward to sharing with you in the coming year, will take us further toward this goal. While ambitious, it’s one we’re confident we can bring to fruition, thanks to the talents and abilities of NoviSphere’s team of engineering, management and marketing experts.