Bipolar ionization (BPI) technology emits charged particles that attach to and deactivate harmful substances like bacteria, allergens, mold, and viruses. It’s no wonder that this technology has already been used in areas such as large airports and Google headquarters to ensure high air quality and stave off the spread of germs.
Given the state of our world, firms like the Indiana Welcome Center are rallying to address every aspect of the COVID-19 crisis. With nearly 400,000 visitors per year, the welcome center in Hammond, Indiana is now installing a state-of-the-art bipolar ionization system to kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
After months of social distancing and seemingly undefined rules, companies and firms across the world are desperate for timely solutions. Leaders are searching for a way to make us all safe, and many are turning to the hope that cleaner air will be key.
Atmos Air is a company making this technology available for firms much like the one in Indiana. Their bipolar ionization system can actively and continuously clean, disinfect, and decontaminate the indoor air we breathe. They state that viruses, including COVID-19, are deactivated and eliminated from indoor air through the use of bipolar ionization.
Because of the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak, being in the workplace is certainly an aspect of our lives that has taken on a new form. This means adjustments not only for office spaces, of course, but includes cancellations of large meetings such as conventions for sizeable companies and expositions of all kinds. With the number of people recommended to be in a gathering at one time still limited, convention centers have taken a hard hit.
In September 2020, Saint Charles, Missouri will be home to one of the only convention centers in the Midwest to have the ionization technology installed. Their website states, “The Saint Charles Convention Center is ecstatic to announce the installation plans of AtmosAir, an air ionization technology, into the HVAC system.”
Dr. Philip Tierno, Professor of Microbiology and Pathology at the New York University School of Medicine explains why AtmosAir is effective against COVID-19.
“Since the virus is spread via direct and indirect contact, the continuous application of BiPolar Ions emitted to ambient air by the AtmosAir System continuously disinfect both the breathing space and surfaces. It is the most effective system for continuously cleaning and decontaminating indoor air.”
Bipolar Ionization has long been utilized to control pathogens in food manufacturing. In fact, it has been used in the U.S. since the 1970s and was integral in controlling the SARS outbreak of 2004. Recent advancements in this expanding technology have made it more cost effective and easier to install, therefore allowing it to be more accessible to companies as an option to test air quality in their own facilities.
In an article by HPAC Engineering, the technology itself is further explained by a well-known virologist.
“According to Dr. John Oxford, internationally recognized virologist and professor at the Institute of Cell and Molecular Sciences at St. Bartholomew’s and The Royal London Hospital, Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry in London, BPI has proven to be effective against a number of viruses: N1N1 influenza, H5N1 avian influenza (bird flu), and corona. The mechanism by which BPI inactivates airborne viruses is that the bipolar ions, according to Dr. Oxford, surround the hemagglutinin (surface proteins that form on organisms and trigger infections) and change into highly reactive hydroxyl radicals. These take a hydrogen molecule from the hemagglutinin and change into water. The ions destroy the virus surface structure, in the case of coronavirus the spikes, on a molecular level. As a result, the virus cannot cause infection, even if it enters the body.”
Other technologies and methods such as strong UV light have proven effective to kill viruses through airflow. UV lights have been used inside HVAC systems to kill bacteria and viruses from within ducts and vents since high UV doses can be harmful to humans. So the use of bipolar ionization in HVACs as a new technology is believed by many to be the safest known way to eliminate the spread of airborne germs.
Business Insider states that, used in large-scale ventilation systems worldwide, bipolar ionization could be a secret weapon in the war against COVID-19.
With the start of another school year and many students congregating again en masse, colleges and universities are likewise working to keep students safe this fall. As an age group originally thought to be not at-risk and arguably negligent in the spread of Coronavirus, colleges are facing an uphill battle.
One school taking action with this technology is the Southern Adventist University. The administration recently unveiled the tool they believe will help stop the spread. They’re installing “Coronavirus-killing” air filtration systems. These systems use bipolar ionization technology as well, which the school has been working with since 2015. Southern Adventist University is now installing filters in all on-campus buildings. These filters work by launching microscopic particles that attack viruses, including the coronavirus.
“This is a big step for us. To move forward and provide this level of treatment to the quality of air in our buildings,” stated Martin Hamilton, Associate Vice President of Southern Adventist University in a newschannel9 interview.
By using this system, Southern Adventist University hopes to provide a sense of security for its students as well as the healthiest environment for possible for living and learning. The administration moved forward with their decision for instillation after learning that bipolar ionization technology is already being used in many hospitals across the U.S.
With no real promise of a vaccine in 2020, many companies and institutions are hoping that the bipolar ionization of our indoor air will be able to neutralize a continuously spreading virus and allow the world to return to its new normal as soon as possible.