Molekule’s Air Pollutants Destroyer
Larger cities all share a problem in exchange for their densely packed benefits: air pollution. Molekule, an air purification company, seeks to solve this issue by using their technology to destroy the impurities, which is a new approach compared to other competitors that are simply filtering the air. They chose this approach to aid individuals whose asthma, allergies and breathing issues would trigger even with a small amount of pollutants in the air. Today we have the opportunity to interview the chief scientist of the company, Yogi Goswami, and get to know more details about Molekule’s air purifier.
What was the reason why you started Molekule?
I watched my son Dilip suffer from asthma and allergies as a child, therefore I know firsthand the devastating effect of respiratory conditions and poor air quality for parents and sufferers alike. I began looking into various air purification technologies hoping to find a solution to help reduce the triggers in the air, but none of them worked. I couldn’t stand to watch him suffer anymore; I knew I needed to take matters into my own hands, so I turned to my own expertise and research in solar energy.I realized that solar water purification technology I developed and demonstrated at the Tyndall Air Force Base could be adapted to clean indoor air. This kickstarted the development of Photo Electrochemical Oxidation – PECO – and that is the technology behind Molekule. It was based on the principles of my research from solar technology.
Over a period of twenty years, we developed this technology with grants from the Department of Defense and the Environmental Protection Agency. PECO destroys the full spectrum of indoor air pollutants, quickly and effectively. Once we realized how efficently PECO was destroying air pollutants, we decided to sell it to the general public by creating the Molekule air purifier.
Who are your costumers right now?
The people who benefit most from Molekule’s unique technology are asthma and allergy sufferers. Our unique nanotechnology breaks down pollutants on a molecular level, making it the only air purification that completely removes indoor air pollutants and the symptoms that they cause. Air quality issues may affect everyone today. Studies have shown that poor air quality can cause a wide variety of health issues: these include symptoms like fatigue, headaches, congestion, nausea, dizziness, and sneezing.
Gaseous organic chemicals known as VOCs are often found inside modern buildings, and these VOCs are not only harmful in the short term, but some are known carcinogens and can also pose long-term health risks. Anyone, from an asthma and allergy-sufferer, or someone just looking for a better night’s sleep, can benefit from the device.
How is your company relevant these days?
Burning more fossil fuels doesn’t just impact CO2 concentrations, it also increases the number of other airborne pollutants that are very harmful to respiratory health. As a solar energy scientist and the father of a son who has asthma, I am moved to speak up. In my journey as a father, I recognized early that my son’s asthma attacks were triggered by environmental conditions and easily exacerbated by air quality issues. As he was growing up, my wife and I learned to control the foods he ate, but there was not much we could do about the air he was breathing.
Our struggles were not unique: in the United States there are approximately 25 million people who suffer from asthma and 40 million who suffer from allergies. As climate change continues and emissions remain uncurbed, air quality will continue to get worse, which has significant implications for the growing population of asthma and allergy sufferers and even broadly for everyone’s health. Traditional air purifiers with HEPA filters collect dust and airborne pollutants, but are unable to destroy them, so these pollutants continue to live on the filter and can be dispersed back into the air we breathe. VOCs, viruses, and many other allergens are far too small for a HEPA filter to catch. For those suffering from asthma and allergies in an increasingly polluted world, a better solution was much needed.
Molekule’s PECO technology breaks down pollutants on a molecular level and eliminates the full spectrum of indoor air pollutants. It even destroys pollutants 1000 times smaller than those HEPA filters can trap. This makes Molekule the only solution in the world that can alleviate the symptoms caused by pollutants like airborne viruses and VOCs, a claim no other device can make. The response to Molekule has been overwhelmingly positive. People have let us know that they’ve seen dramatic symptom reductions, some having suffered from debilitating asthma and allergies for their entire lives. Katrina Klauer, for example, got Molekule for her young son in a desperate attempt to alleviate his debilitating respiratory issues. Within two weeks of using Molekule, Katrina’s son no longer had his sleep interrupted by coughing fits, and within a month, Katrina barely had to use his rescue inhaler (something she previously had to use daily).
How do you test your product to ensure its quality?
Prior to opening sales to the public, we completed a 49 person beta study program, which included people with severe nasal and ocular allergy symptoms and those with asthma. The findings showed that allergy sufferers experienced dramatic, statistically significant, sustained symptom reduction within a week of using Molekule. The University of Minnesota’s Particle Calibration Lab also recently conducted a study comparing the effectiveness PECO technology to HEPA filtration, in the reduction of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other harmful airborne microorganisms. The resulting report showed that PECO technology destroys VOCs without re-releasing pollutants back into the air or producing harmful byproducts like ozone. The production of ozone is a common problem with some other air purification technologies such as ionizers, electrostatic filters and other oxidation technologies. PECO technology is able to destroy these microscopic pollutants, without producing any harmful byproducts.
How has your product evolved throughout the years since the beginning in 2014?
The technology research and development journey for me started long before 2014. At the start, it was just an idea, where I thought: “can a technology I had developed for water purification be used to clean the air?”. That kickstarted many years of R&D in the lab, and it was in this time period that we came across some major scientific breakthroughs that allowed us to increase the efficacy of the technology by orders of magnitude.
At the time of forming the company, in 2014, the technology had been tested and verified in a laboratory state. We had put a literal black box around the technology, as a shell to contain our nano-filter and lights, and the team used this prototype to test PECO’s efficacy in the real work with those who suffered from allergies and asthma. The insights we gained from this testing process helped us develop the Molekule we have today: a sleek device which is optimized with the user in mind to deliver significant symptom relief.
How do you plan to stay ahead of your competitors?
The technology behind Molekule is entirely proprietary — it is the first and only molecular air purifier on the market, meaning that we are completely different from every existing technology. To answer your question, we plan to stay ahead of our competitors by offering a solution that no one else does. Molekule is not just an air purifier, it’s a pollutant destroyer. Unlike traditional air purifiers, Molekule can: destroy pollutants 1000 times smaller than traditional HEPA filters; break down pollutants at a molecular level – allergens, mold, bacteria, viruses and airborne chemicals are completely eliminated.
What features do you plan to add in the future? Are you also planning to work on other products?
At its heart, Molekule is a science company and being a scientific company we continue to invest in R&D. This R&D will lead to continuous improvements in the products that we deliver to people. Even as we speak today, many of our early customers have gotten upgraded Nano-filters based on advancements and breakthroughs we have had in the lab. Also, there are many more spaces that need clear air and people all over the world suffering from the consequences of poor air quality. We will continue to find applications of this technology to improve the air in all of these places around the world. Finally, having taken one technology from a laboratory setting to the real world, we plan to continue to spin out more technologies rooted in such scientific breakthroughs. The process is neither easy nor straightforward, but it is something that the companies of tomorrow must do if they’re looking to grow and provide value.
I noticed that this is a family business. You set the foundation of the idea for this company and your son and daughter work alongside you. How has your family influenced the way you run your business?
My son Dilip is the CEO of Molekule, and my daughter Jaya is the COO, while I am Chief Scientist, and we all co-founded the company together. To work as a family on a project that has impacted all of our lives directly is more than I can ask for. Not only do we all know firsthand the impact that this technology can have on a life, but we are all aligned in our vision and mission.
During the recent wildfires in Northern California , for example -a situation very personal to my daughter Jaya, who is pregnant and lives close to the area affected- we partnered with Postmates to ensure same-day delivery of air purifiers to those affected by the smoke and particulates in the air. We also donated a number of units to firefighters, schools and evacuation centers in the area. Because we are all wholly aligned on our mission, this decision was made without a second thought. I couldn’t think of anyone better to work alongside than my own son and daughter.
IN THE PHOTO: Molekule’s air purifier PHOTO CREDIT: Molekule Inc.
COVER PHOTO: Molekule founder, Yogi Goswami with his son, Dilip and daughter, Jaya PHOTO CREDIT: Molekule Inc.