As the scientific community continues to grapple with Covid-19 attempting to demystify and indeed find a sure-fire treatment for it, the continual eruption of mutants and variants around the world has made the disease even more enigmatic and intractable. While vaccines of all kinds and forms developed by global as well as local pharma companies have provided some sort of a potential shield against the dreaded virus, there is no hundred percent guaranteed protection yet for people anywhere in the world. Additionally, ever since the confirmation that the virus can even be airborne and transmit through the fine aerosols in the air remaining much longer and travelling much farther than estimated earlier, the potential to infect and intensify the contagion has increased manifold. So, even as vaccines and other forms of treatment are being developed to eliminate the virus within the human body, the imperative to inactivate and neutralize it in the air is equally pressing. And among the limited number of technology options that have come to prominence in recent times, ultra violet (UV) light technology is one potent option. When UV is used as a germicidal agent to neutralize microbes, ultra violet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) emerges as a relevant term. With credible research establishing now that the transmission of the corona virus occurs more in indoor spaces than outdoors, the role of UVGI technology has become even more critical. Financial Express Online caught up with Himanshu Agarwal, Founder and CEO, Magneto CleanTech to discuss the air purification industry, new advances due to pandemic and pollution, and more. Excerpts:
How has the air purification industry evolved in India over recent years? What does the future hold like?
The air purification industry has evolved a great deal and in multiple ways in recent years backed by a large amount of investments being made in technology development around the world. With a better understanding of long-term hazardous impacts of air pollution on human mind and body, various institutions are looking at deeper studies, inventions and enhancement. As examples, traditionally air pollution was governed by the presence of PM2.5 particles suspended in the air, but now the world is moving to measuring the PM1.0 particles and VOCs that are much more harmful to human systems. There is also a great deal of advancement in the UVGI technology – traditionally being very effectively used in the medical field for air sanitization, but now is being introduced for use in any kind of indoor environment for protection against coronavirus. The advent of Covid-19 that is now known to be transmitted through air has increased adoption of air purification by many folds as modern air sanitization technologies can eliminate the presence of coronavirus by 99% from the indoor environment. In India, with a CAGR of 25% over the last three years even before Covid came, the industry has recorded strong performance in the recent past. Since air pollution has been increasingly recognized as a long-term challenge that all developing economies like India face, the future is very promising for the industry. Market penetration has gone to almost 20% in India now.
What crucial role did Magneto play in times of Covid? How big an opportunity do you see here for your industry?Magneto has launched many air sanitization solutions since the advent of Covid-19, including the Magneto Central Air Cleaner co-powered with UVGI, tested and certified by ALG labs, USA for eliminating coronavirus by over 98%. We have also introduced UVGI-based air purification solutions that can fit into split and cassette ACs of any make and capacity, including retrofit. Magneto has also been taken onboard as an industry partner for a global academia-industry collaborative research venture initiated by IIT-Madras to develop an advanced UV-based air sanitization system for developing countries like India. Covid-19 has spurred Magneto into doubling its R&D efforts for introducing world-class globally certified air purification systems to combat corona virus While extremely unfortunate, the Covid-19 onslaught, perpetual fear of the virus and all-round consciousness about the need to constantly protect against both home-borne infections and pollution has created unprecedented opportunity for the industry. For example, the UV business in India has grown 5 times in the last two years. As for us, besides already having a host of top corporate names as our customers even before Covid, we have now tied up with several business houses, hotel chains, hospitals, educational institutes, government offices and real estate players for providing them Covid-based air purification solutions.
Magneto’s product portfolio? and your strategy for growth, post-Covid ?The company boasts of an end-to-end range of air purification solutions suitable for the whole spectrum of needs — domestic, commercial, industrial, enterprise and institutional needs. Our world-class solutions like Magneto Central Air Cleaner or MCAC comes fitted with an array of technologies including Electronically Charged Filtration (ECF), Filterless Magnetic Air Purification (FMAP) and Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) and has been designed for all types of air conditioning systems such as wall type split ACs, cassette ACs, fan coil units (FCUs) and air handling units (AHUs). We have a wide range of UVGI solutions as well including Upper room UVGI, UV Tower and UV solutions for retrofit of existing air-conditioning systems.
Magneto’s vision has always been to provide clean and safe air to everyone. Post-Covid our strategy would continue to progress towards our vision, investing in air cleaning technology advancements and expanding into mobile, transport and residential markets. In the last one year alone, while Magneto has grown its UV business 5 times, particularly catalysed by the unfortunate second wave, over-all we have grown nearly 150% YoY for the last 3-years and we intend to continue that pace.
Technologies that must be adopted to keep our indoor clean & safe?Based on our extensive research and experience in the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) space, air purification has proven to be the most effective way of eliminating all kinds of harmful particles including PM10, PM2.5, PM1.0, bacteria, virus, odor, VOCs and other pollutants from the air you are breathing. No other measure provides as instant an impact as air cleaning technology provides, eliminating even the minutest hazardous pollutant from indoor air. Some of the leading technologies that must be adopted to keep our indoor clean and safe include ECF, FMAP and UVGI.
How UVGI Solutions are Protecting Against the Novel Coronavirus?Although not a new technology, UVGI has been rediscovered and customized to address the need for protection against the Coronavirus. As a proven air purification technology, UVGI disinfects the air by emitting UV-C rays at a wavelength of 253.7 nm. These rays kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi by disrupting the DNA of micro-organisms, preventing them from reproducing, and thereby eliminating them. In the same way, UVGI can eliminate or inactivate the Coronavirus. Since Magneto’s MCAC-UVGI is rated with Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) 15, it can take care of the tiniest of microorganisms and pathogens including the Coronavirus.
Why should one prioritize the Sanitization of Indoor Air In the Wake Of COVID-19?Many researches around the world have proven coronavirus to be airborne, which means it can stay suspended in the air for a long period of time. It has also been observed that coronavirus can ride on the back of PM2.5 pollution particles and get transmitted faster and to much longer distances. Infact, the airborne transmission route of coronavirus is proving to be the most prominent one. To top it up, air-conditioned spaces are at a much higher risk of the virus spreading as they usually lack ventilation, re-circulating the same air indoors. Given all these facts, sanitizing indoor air must become a priority for all kinds of indoor spaces, especially public ones like schools, hotels, offices, gyms, restaurants, etc.
How Magneto solutions partnering with major corporates and business houses to combat the spread of airborne COVID-19?Magneto’s proprietary and top-of-the-line solutions are being employed by some of the leading corporates and business houses including Google, Apple, Uber, BMW, Airbus, Nokia, Jindal Group, Taj Hotels, Oberois, PGI Chandigarh Hospital, Godrej Properties, and DLF to name a few.
How Magneto’s filterless technology can fight against the current pollution that the country is facing?Unlike the traditional purification systems which necessarily come with filters that need to be replaced periodically, Magneto’s filterless technology-based system – Magneto Central Air Cleaner (MCAC) has in-built trap and kill technology that does not only trap but also completely eliminate the microorganisms and pollutants from indoor air. With a three-stage process involving pre-filter, charging and agglomeration, the equipment creates an artificially-created magnetic field to systematically trap and destroy the tiniest of microorganisms and pathogens irretrievably. At the same time, the filterless nature means that the system does not compromise on the airflow capacity and therefore the cooling capacity of the AC units. Due to the low pressure drop the technology offers, it improves the air-conditioning system’s performance, and improves the lifespan of the AC by keeping the coil clean. MCAC is now co-powered with UVGI for an added layer of safety for complete protection against airborne viruses and infections. . Magneto’s products are designed, engineered and manufactured in India, and priced keeping in mind the price-sensitive nature of the Indian as well as other developing economy markets.