Molekule air purifier destroys pollutants rather than collecting them

San Francisco company Molekule has partnered with London studio PostlerFerguson to design an air purifier that breaks down pollen and dust at a molecular level (+ slideshow).

Molekule air purification by Postler Ferguson

While most air purifiers use a HEPA filter to collect and store pollutants, Molekule applies a new technology called photoelectrochemical oxidation, which features a filter coated in nanoparticles.

As air passes through the purifier, light activates the filter and creates a surface reaction that destroys allergens, bacteria, viruses and mould.

Molekule air purification by Postler Ferguson

Molekule claims the technology can get rid of pollutants 1,000 times smaller than comparable products. The device is said to clean a 55-square-metre room in an hour.

PostlerFerguson designed the purifier to fit into a range of interiors without being intrusive, from larger spaces like offices and hospitals to home environments.

Molekule air purification by Postler Ferguson

"A typical use case would be that of a busy office with a lot of bad air that would need the product to almost integrate into its infrastructure aesthetically," PostlerFerguson co-founder Martin Postler told Dezeen.

"On the other hand it should also stand quietly in the corner of an asthma-suffering baby's sleeping room without being too intrusive."

Molekule air purification by Postler Ferguson

The studio used untreated metals and non-toxic plastics to ensure materials didn't counteract the purifier, and added an untreated leather handle as a "statement towards a natural feel".

"Indoor air pollution is a global problem, resulting in deteriorating respiratory and health conditions," said Molekule CEO Dilip Goswami. "The HEPA filter, today's market-leading technology, was developed in the 1940s as a part of the Manhattan Project and hasn't evolved much since."

Molekule air purification by Postler Ferguson

"It has become a commodity found in most households and air purifiers, yet the [United States Environmental Protection Agency] still reports that indoor air is up to five times worse than outdoor air. It's time for a new approach."

Molekule is controlled using a companion smartphone app, which can also be used to order new filters.

Molekule air purification by Postler Ferguson

A fresh approach to air purification has also come from French designer Patrick Norguet, who created a circular, wall-mounted purifier that expels air through a front funnel.

Meanwhile, air pollution tracking technology is evolving and being incorporated into some portable purifiers, as in the case of Royal College of Art graduate Sheana Yu's wearable design.