pathogen elimination system

NoviSphere in the New Year

Pathogen eradication for 2021 and beyond

By Paul Lockhart, CEO

2021: the year the world is expecting advanced technology, innovations, vaccines, and personal and social hygiene to overcome the pandemic challenge of 2020. Exactly one year ago, our team had been hard at work for several months developing a roadmap for what was to become NoviSphere – a company well positioned to provide complete rarified environments, battle viral and bacterial pathogens, deliver pure air for any occupied space, and, ultimately, to meet the coronavirus challenge. We’re ready for NoviSphere to be a part of the global community’s solution to COVID-19.

When the pandemic appeared as a minor news article in January 2020, our NoviSphere team was completing our pathogen-eradication system: a germicidal 254nm ultraviolet (UV-C) light system combined with proprietary technology that optimally exposes airborne contaminants to the UV-C light to ensure their destruction. UV-C light is a proven technology that has been recommended by the CDC as a method to reduce the likelihood of transmission of COVID-19. And, unlike other technologies, this “direct kill” approach completely eliminates the pathogens.

By February, when COVID-19 became the dominant news topic, we knew dedicated, objective testing of our NoviSphere PE-254 was necessary to gain the public’s trust. After all, COVID-19 was proven to be elusive and deadly; therefore, we went where experts in pathogens and aerosol science can do their best work – the University of Minnesota. In a highly regulated and advanced laboratory, U of M researchers tested our PE-254 prototype against a COVID-19 surrogate strain. Their results confirmed that NO live viruses were found in air exiting the NoviSphere PE-254, validating the unit as being 99.99% effective.

With this knowledge and the U of M test results under our belt, we launched NoviSphere and our PE 254 air-purification system in November 2020. We truly believe it is the best, most thorough pathogen-elimination offering on the market, and we are seeing heightened interest from companies and organizations around the world. We are excitedly setting goals for 2021 to bring a suite of new clean air innovations to public and private workspaces. Here are some examples:

  • First and foremost, we are excited about the opportunities our pathogen-eradication system presents to help get life back to normal in many different environments, such as healthcare facilities, schools, retail settings, restaurants, and sports venues, just to name a few. We designed the unit specifically to make UV-C technology safe for use in high-traffic areas.
  • We look forward to engaging with customers to install the NoviSphere PE 254 in these spaces so that workers and visitors can know they are constantly breathing clean, fresh air. We will be expanding on these and other sites that can benefit from the technology in future posts; for example, recently we took a look at shopping malls.
  • We are also focused on an ongoing educational effort. With the development and deployment of vaccines, there is much to be optimistic about regarding eventually curtailing the COVID-19 virus. However, the consensus is that more global pandemics are a virtual certainty, and we are committed to helping preclude the spread of future viruses and airborne illnesses. Another of our key goals, therefore, is to build awareness that maintaining clean indoor air is of vital importance – not just today but going forward.

Later this year, we plan to introduce our next product. Our COO Joe Cestari, in a prior post, provided his insights and a preview of our dynamic plans. Currently in development, our next offering will allow us to make significant inroads to improving global health and safety by providing rarified environments for all spaces where people live and work. This larger vision is what fuels and motivates our team – our collective experience has given us a new perspective into the importance of having access to clean, pure air 24/7. We are excited to have the means and opportunity to make this a reality so that you can breathe easy and stay safe, no matter where you are.

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.

The Air Down Here

By Paul Lockhart, CEO, NoviSphere

I grew up watching America’s quest to do what President Kennedy challenged our nation in 1961 to accomplish: land a man on the moon and safely return him to earth by the end of that decade. The Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs achieved that goal in 1969, with Neil Armstrong stepping off of the lunar lander Eagle and placing the first human footprints on another celestial body. The dramatic decade of rockets, televised launches and recoveries, high-tech equipment, and national pride offered everything a young boy seeking adventure could want. At age six, I knew I wanted to be an astronaut.

After I earned my graduate degree in aerospace engineering, I joined the Air Force to become a fighter and test pilot. In 1996, I achieved my goal: I became one of the fortunate few selected by NASA for the astronaut program.

Space flight is exciting, but also difficult and dangerous. Arguably, the most basic, most important problem to solve in space is that of maintaining clean, breathable air. During my two missions as pilot of the Space Shuttle Endeavour, I operated a number of the critical systems during launch, on-orbit and during return to earth that underscored this challenge.

For one, on-orbit, I was responsible for the lithium hydroxide (LiOH) canisters used to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the shuttle’s breathing air. As you can imagine, having seven astronauts breathing in Endeavour’s oxygen supply and exhaling the CO2, with no outside source of fresh air, created a dangerous build-up of CO2 within the orbiter. We used the LiOH canisters to scrub the CO2 from the shuttle’s air supply. My job, in conjunction with NASA’s ground engineers, was to properly track the canisters and swap them out on a daily basis to maintain good, clean air that allowed our crew to operate at maximum efficiency.

I also served as the Intra-Vehicular Astronaut (IVA) for six spacewalks, responsible for suiting up the two astronauts conducting the spacewalks and performing work outside of the International Space Station or the shuttle. The IVA is responsible for the health of the two other astronauts and helps them perform their work by continuously observing, operating checklists and coordinating their activities safely and efficiently. Again, air supply is a critical consideration – getting astronauts ready to exit the space station or shuttle is a long process, most of which entails preparing their bodies to breath clean air at the proper pressure. During spacewalks, their air supply is closely monitored, and, just as with the shuttle or space station, the CO2 must be scrubbed to prevent a build-up in their space suits. During ingress back into the shuttle or station at the end of the spacewalks, the whole process must be reversed, and the astronauts must slowly acclimate themselves to the shuttle or station air supply.

I took to heart the lessons I learned from these missions regarding the critical nature of maintaining clean air as I moved on to pursue new career ventures.

After having returned to the Air Force for several years to support the nation in the difficult period post-9/11, I retired from the military in 2007 and entered the private sector. At Vencore, which provided technical engineering and services to NASA and the Air Force, I served as senior VP, leading the space technology team. Having benefited personally from the efforts of thousands of devoted NASA support personnel, my job at Vencore allowed me to give back, helping enable younger NASA astronauts to fly and complete the International Space Station.

I left Vencore in 2015 and joined PEMDAS, launched in 2008 by my wife, Mary Lockhart, to deliver atmospheric sensors and Big Data analytics to the Department of Defense – specifically, units that operate unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), i.e., drones. As a former acting director of the Air Force Weather Agency, Mary is a proponent of using atmospheric information to better support drones’ remote or autonomous operation. This cutting-edge work involves significant research and development, which, as director of engineering, I was able to facilitate using my aerospace, flight test and research skills, overseeing development of atmospheric air sensors and satellite antennas.

In this position, I further advanced my understanding of how pollutants, particulates and aerosols contaminate air environments. Moreover, I gained appreciation for what it takes to run a small business, including the effort, persistence and determination needed to overcome challenges, grow and mature. What I learned at PEMDAS will serve me extremely well at NoviSphere.

My experiences in the military, government service and the private sector have taught me that leadership built on integrity and trust is key to the success of any venture. Solid leadership is integral to an organization’s cohesion and its ability to deliver goods and services that the consumer trusts and respects. I am pleased to join forces with our COO, Joe Cestari, and Cindy Egnarski, our director of business development and marketing, in leading NoviSphere. With their knowledge and emphasis on developing products of the highest quality, safety and ease of use, our company will become known an international leader in delivering turnkey, rarified, ultraclean environments, providing safety and security wherever it’s needed.