Air Purification a Mega Business in Japan

August 17, 2009 · Filed Under Editor's Corner 

With estimated 8 out of 10 individuals who suffer from one type of allergy or other during the year, which is mostly due to indoor type of allergens that in most cases can be easily controlled with introduction of air purification system in improving the indoor air quality. I don’t know about you but I get very confused with multitude of air purification products that are currently available in the market. Besides their fancy and glossy look they provide air purification through different method from the filter on our furnace if you happen to have one in Japan to HEPA air purifier as well as ionic air cleaners, and let’s not forget the ones with humidifying functions that supposedly is capable of washing the air, oh… yes the OZONE air cleaner type too to name a few. Well, in actuality air cleaning or should I say air purification business is an old business dated back to early 1800s in United States at the start of the industrial revolution. It was developed by John and Charles Dean in 1823 for a sole purpose of helping firefighters to overcome the dangers of smoke fumes. Then in 1845 came another version of mask protecting coal miners against the surrounding polluted air which was developed based on charcoal based filtration technology pretty much the same technology that is in use in today’s carbon based air cleaners. Since then air purification has taken a giant step to find itself in a mainstream market with its introduction for the residential use thanks to Hammes brothers in Switzerland whom went on developing and manufacturing residential air purifiers in 1971 which later on in 1990 the system was introduced in Mercedes-Benz automobiles. Air purification in Japan is a mega business which is estimated to grow to some where around 30 billion dollars. The development has been achieved in different front from Nippon paper industries 2005 announcement of development of newsprint which was coated with photocatalytic titanium oxide capable of eliminating unwanted odors like tobacco smoke and pet, body sweat and other type of odors to Sharp’s newly developed plasmacluster ion generating system effective in eliminating airborne viruses. NEDO earlier this year has developed new photocatalyst which achieved a 10 times visible light reactivity than the existing product in the market, where the new catalyst is expected to be used for indoor application as a VOC purifier coated on wallpaper of the room as part of a air purification system capable of acting as antibacterial/antiviral solution in medical institutions. SHIKKUI is another good example, which is a lime plaster in traditional Japanese wall paint material featuring superior deodorization and natural dehumidification. But applying the plaster requires a highly professional skilled individual making its application expensive and time consuming, but Kansai Paint developed an “ALES SHIKKUI” paint with easy application which is safe and environmentally friendly with merit of traditional shikkui. Since the main ingredient of “ALES SHIKKUI”is calcium hydroxide, carbon dioxide of the air will be slowly taken into the coating of the wall and becomes limestone. And finally development of face masks lined with the ostrich antibodies by Yasuhiro Tsukamoto, professor at Kyoto University. In his development of new face?mask Tsukamoto discovered that ostriches have a stronger Immune system against many infectious diseases among birds. In comparison with the methods which use animal blood or chicken eggs, the ostrich antibodies have a high quality and are less expensive. One ostrich on average can produce about 100 eggs in a year; by using one ostrich egg is enough to make about 80000 pieces of face mask. Tsukamoto said that the masks are coated with antibodies against four strains of flu viruses, including the H5N1 avian variety. The ostrich-based antibodies surround viruses that come in contact with the mask and disable the germs so that a wearer of the mask won’t get the flu. In light of the outbreak of swine flu around the world the newly mask can provide a sense of security to many individuals for a price of $2 each. Finally, Sanyo’s so called Virus Washer which has been developed to suppress airborne viruses by using electrolyzed water, setting a new standard in air purification business. Companies and researches alike are developing different methods in ensuring the quality of an air that we are breathing, where by average is about 15 cubic meters a day whether is through use of newly developed mask or new type of wallpaper or paint. Being a vital to our very existence it makes sense to consider the huge business opportunities that surrounds this remarkable but invisible substance.

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