Nanocatalytic Air Purifier

tilt tube nanoblue

Nanobreeze Room Air Purifier PS-1415L $169.00 to $249.00

Replacement Light Tube TFC-22WT9 $59.95

NanoBreeze air purifier is a high tech innovation, introduced at a reasonable price.

It uses nanotechnology, the precise application of particles so small they approach the molecular scale.

I dislike the name "breeze", so common in an industry which cannot shake free from the dubious leadership of formerly top selling Sharper Image Ionic Breeze. Nanowind, Nanoaire, Nanofan....oh well, Nanobreeze.

This is an ingenious fan with a ultraviolet light (UV) tube coiled inside.

The UV lamp is wrapped in a fiberglass sheath coated in a very thin film of nanosized (.04 micron) titanium dioxide particles (TiO2).

When the UV light shines on the tiny TiO2 crystals a free radical oxidation process takes place on the surfaces.

A radical cascade produces hydroxyl radicals, powerful oxidizers. These attack and destroy the chemical bonds in volatile organic chemicals, airborne microorganisms, and submicron sized particles.

Cool.

The light-powered photocatalytic air purification process is explained in simple terms, and more detail, on this page; Photo Catalytic Air Cleaning For the technophobic I offer this one paragraph simplification:

When a bright blue light shines on a wet metal-coated thing, little pac-man guys come out and eat pollution. When they're done, the pac-people disappear, leaving only water and carbon dioxide.

There is no mess to clean on the machine, no filters accumulate dust, no washing or maintenance. Airborne pollutants are changed to water and carbon dioxide. Very cool.

Nanobreeze: New, Untested

Little outside information is available on this emerging product.

Consumer demand is light but growing.

The Nanobreeze UV Air Purifier is not sold at Amazon.com, there are no reviews on Epinions.com or listings on Ebay.com

Nanobreeze UV Air Purifier
nanobreeze uv air purifier

The UV air purifier's vendor, NanoTwin Technologies, did not participate in Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) tests, but asserts that an appropriate room size is 144 sq. ft.

Web sellers may inflate the company's claim, which seems reasonable enough: medium-bedroom sized.

With the photocatalytic process, pollutants need to linger near the photocatalyst surface, so a more powerful fan may not increase air purification rates.

The oxidizer functions on the surface of the catalyst, so airborne impurities must pass very close to the fiberglass lamp wrap to be oxidized.

The circular 10 Watt lamp is not large or powerful enough for a bigger fan.

Only the inner surface of the fiber glass wrapper is exposed to the lamp, further restricting oxidizing power.

We are left with no metrics for evaluation. I think a room air sterilizer like the $199 Airfree, which acts extremely slowly and has no chemical hazard capability, would be a fairly considered a competitor.

A rotating air deflector spreads the exhaust airflow a bit wider and looks snazzy when running.

Is the 'breeze Safe?

Air-purifier-power harps at length about air purifier safety issues; ozone, long lived oxidants, outgassing of plastic components or glues, and UV-C light exposure.

When I first saw the photos of the stylish Nanobreeze, I thout I thaw a bad o’ puddytat.

A completely exposed UV installation! That blue glow made me nervous.

For the full rundown on UV "light" in air purifiers: UV Air Purifier: The Twilight Zone

Nanotwin asserts that "NanoBreeze Room Air Purifier produces no eye or skin exposure hazards from ultraviolet radiation."

The NanoBreeze uses UVA radiation, with a peak at 365 nanometers in length, to activate the photocatalyst painted on the inside of the fiberglass lamp wrap.

Germicidal UVC, at wavelegnths below 280 nanometers, used in most air purifier applications, is hazardous to eyes if not completely shielded, as in many cheaper UV machines.

The concept is that most UVA energy is converted by the catalyst, and any remaining is blocked by the fiberglass mesh.

UVA is the least dangerous ultraviolet wavelegnth, it is used in light therapy, sun lamps, and tanning beds. UVB is associated with sunburn and skin cancers, and UVC with cataracts. UVA, the longer wavelegnth, penetrates skin deeply, causing cumulative damage.

It causes deep wrinkles and premature skin aging.

Recent studies, spurred the rapid growth of the tanning booth fad, have implicated UVA in immune system damage.

Nanobreezes emit a blue glow, from additional blue frequencies generated by the bulb. I would like to see a spectral power distribution graph to show exactly which frequencies are emitted.

In fairness, the vast majority of UV air purifiers are deliberately marketed without this crucial information.

Measurements at a short distance from the machine, showing how much UV penetrates the wrapper, would be helpful in supporting the company's safety claims.

There is a nifty swivel mount feature, which allows the NanoBreeze to tilt upward, thus directing any energy toward the ceiling.

I am surprised how many marketers of quality high tech products miss the point: my readers, typical air purifier buyers, want facts.

Not fine print graphs from overseas labs, not pictures of the Alps, not cryptic product brochures, facts.

Sure, Oreck and the other Breeze have done real well with pure hype.

But introduction of a quality, technologically innovative product marketed on the merits should include user friendly evidence of those merits.

Surveys show that 39% of air purifier customers have asthma and/or allergies.

Many have had bad prior experiences with rip-off products. They are nervous, as I am, about the safety of new technology.

Mere assurances are not enough.

Ozone is created when an oxygen (O2) molecule absorbs UVC energy at wavelengths between 310 and 200. This supports the claim that Nanobreeze, using higher frequencies, is ozone free.

Oxidizers generated by the photocat are short living, fast acting, local air cleaners, and will not build up as ozone does. Way cool.

While I cannot offer a definitive judgment on the safety of any pioneering technology, it looks like the builders have taken every precaution with the Nano Breeze.

I think it compares favorably on safety to many best selling ozone prone and/or UVC leaking "air purifiers."

Although it looks very techy facing horizontally, I would use the upward position myself, just to be safe.

Cost Effective

This machine has no filters to replace or collector grids to ash.

The titanium catalyst is not consumed and cannot wear out.

An estimated lamp life of 5000 hours should last the projected 1 year when used 12 hours a day. Annual bulb changes are the only maintenance.

uv bulb

At the advertised price of $200, an annual $60 bulb change gives a maintenance to purchase price ratio of over 3. With many air cleaners sporting ratios under 1, this is pretty good. 9.7 Watts of power draw is also very frugal.

This purifier is about the size of a box fan: 23 x 19 x 6 inches.

Lightweight at 8 pounds, with a convenient built in handle, the Nano Breeze is portable enough to carry up stairs.

Conclusions

Since the Nano is filterless, it cannot stand alone as the sole air purifier in a residence.

It does not remove large particles, hair, or insects.

In my opinion, a quality HEPA is always the foundation of healthy indoor air.

This photocatalytic purifier is an inexpensive alternative to carbon filters, and can shine in damp, mold and odor prone, bath and kitchen environments.

There carbon, and especially zeolite, would foul quickly.

Buyers who already have HEPA without carbon, who balk at the high cost of a whole new gas and odor machine, might consider this under-$200 photocat an option.

An opportunity has been missed by the Taiwanese designers of this innovative product, by giving it a three speed, manually controlled fan.

I would have loved to see a completely automated set of sensors and controls on this elegant looking device.

Automation could have allowed the fan to slow or stop, and the lamp to turn off, when no pollutants were present.

This could have extended the 5000 hour bulb life to 5 or 10 years, and fan life indefinitely.

Cost ratios plummet on automated air purifiers.

Made by Taiwan Fluorescent Lamp Co., the Nanobreeze air purifier is marketed stateside by NanoTwin Technologies, Inc. of Salem, NH.

They offer a 30 day trial with user paid shipping, a 30 day return policy, and guarantee the product for "normal life" expectancy. This is a small, young company with outsourced customer service answering.

Compared to recently reviewed photocat purifiers Pionair UV ($380-$589) and SunPure SP-20C ($995), this machine, advertised as low as $169 on the web, looks like a bargain.

Air-Purifier-Power Rating Criteria

Each of ten factors gets up to 10 points, 100 is perfect and very unlikely.

1. First do no harm; minimal out gassing, no ozone.

Score: 8 of 10, safety area a bit gray, but so many ozone models out there.

2. Serious gas and odor removal is a requirement if health benefits are expected: Units with real carbon VOC capability rank higher.

Score: 10 of 10, rips 'em out by the roots!

3. Quality construction; case, gaskets, seals, and precision fitting eliminate bypassing and assure high efficiency at filtering sub-micron particles.

Score: 8 of 10, bypassing does not apply, gets finest particles and viruses.

4. The design maximizes the lifespan of each filter stage by allowing independent filter replacement. Ideally this is combined with electronic filter monitoring.

Score: 10 of 10, no filter.

5. Unit has long filter life, low maintenance requirements, and reasonable operating costs.

Score: 8 of 10, good maintenance cost profile.

6. Purifier produces low noise levels and meaningful air flow rates relative to noise.

Score: 7 of 10, with no decibel measurements or user reviews to go by, assurances of "quiet" are insufficient. It does look quiet.

7. Manufacturer has a track record, with many units in the field and a reputation for supporting what they sell. Warranty period and average service life are long.

Score: 6 of 10, young company, new product, some buyer risk, looks like they will follow other new market entrants, like Alen Tech, in offering strong warranty.

8. Purifier is a value in terms of price/performance ratio. Every price range should be included, “models above $1,200 are best”, while true, is not useful to most consumers.

Score: 9 of 10, with people paying $700 for Ecoquest, Nanobreeze looks like a bargain to me.

9. No dirt; unit and manufacturer should be devoid of class-action suits, high returns, recalls, consumer complaints, and legitimate negative consumer reviews.

Score: 7 of 10, too soon to tell.

10. Unit is stylish, portable, comfortable, and convenient for consumer use.

Score: 9 of 10, cute, but not automated.

Air-Purifier-Power Numeric Rating;82

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