IKEA's Gunrid curtain can purify air
IKEA is set to launch an air-purifying curtain coated with a mineral-based surface that breaks down common pollutants.
The surface of the curtain is treated with a photocatalyst mineral that causes air pollution to break down when light shines through it, allowing users to purify the air in their own homes.
The technology works in a similar way to photosynthesis – the natural process that plants and some other organisms use to convert carbon dioxide and water into food, using light.
Developed over several years by IKEA in collaboration with university institutions in Europe and Asia, the purifying technology works with both natural and artificial light.
"For me, it's important to work on products that solve actual problems and are relevant to people," explained IKEA product developer Mauricio Affonso.
"Textiles are used across homes, and by enabling a curtain to purify the air, we are creating an affordable and space-saving air purifying solution that also makes the home more beautiful," he continued.
The curtain will be launched in stores next year, and is designed to reduce the problem of air pollution, which is becoming increasingly acute as more of the global population flock to cities.
According to the United Nations, it is expected that 68 per cent of the world's population will live in urban areas by 2050, where the quality of the air is often poor.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that even now, 91 per cent of the world's population live in areas where air pollution exceeds WHO guideline limits.
The effects of poor air kill an estimated seven million people worldwide each year, research by the WTO has found.
"Besides enabling people to breathe better air at home, we hope that Gunrid will increase people's awareness of indoor air pollution, inspiring behavioural changes that contribute to a world of clean air," said IKEA head of sustainability Lena Pripp-Kovac.
"Gunrid is the first product to use the technology, but the development will give us opportunities for future applications on other textiles."
IKEA acknowledges that the problem of polluted air can't be solved by the Gunrid curtain alone, but it could be one step in helping its customers reduce the risks associated with breathing poor quality air. The technology they have developed can be applied to any textile.
"We know that there is no single solution to solve air pollution. We work long term for positive change, to enable people to live healthier and more sustainable lives," added Pripp-Kovac.
When IKEA opened it's first Indian store in Hyderabad in August 2018, 20 per cent of the store's delivery fleet was made up of battery-powered three-wheel rickshaws.
These electric rickshaws, painted in the Swedish furniture giant's signature blue and yellow colours, are significantly less polluting than regular rickshaws which run on fossil fuels.