China has become the second-largest economy in the world at the expense of the environment. The World Bank has estimated that the total damage caused by air and water pollution equals 6% of Chinese GDP every year. As a result, pollution control has turned into big business in China, observes Spire Research and Consulting. TechSci Research forecasts that the air purifier market will grow at a rate of about 34% until 2018. Clean air has become a luxury product with global appeal. Let’s take a look at 3 new solutions to fresh air supply.
The first shipment of Vitality Air to China was a big commercial success: the shelves were emptied within 4 days. Nothing would be surprising if not the fact that the product Chinese customers were going crazy about was air taken from the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
“We are the next bottled water,” the Vitality Air team promote their brand. The only difference is the price: a 7.7 litre bottle of compressed fresh air costs about 100 yuan (over $15), i.e. 50 times more than a bottle of mineral water. However, Chinese customers are willing to pay it as it is a much better alternative to the air in their cities.
Wang Xu, a personal coach, thinks that Vitality Air is especially useful on a polluted day. “[…] after working out, I can’t just open windows and take some breaths,” he explains.
“It’s about 150 doses per bottle. After spraying it a dozen times, I feel much better in my throat,” shares Liu Yiyuan, a marketer.
Dominykas Budinas, a student of Industrial Design at Vilnius Academy of Arts, Lithuania, has designed Air Shield. It is a futuristic baby stroller covered with a shield made of polarized plastic, which protects babies from toxic air and UV radiation, and creates them a safe microclimate inside. It has a built-in air purification system. There is a ventilator which takes in air. Then it goes through a filter. When its temperature is adjusted, it starts circulating in the baby cabin and goes out through one-way valves. A similar air filtering system is used in cars.
The product is designed for newborns, and can be used until they turn 10 months old. Budinas argues that this is the time when they are especially vulnerable to air pollution because their immune system is not yet well-developed.
The project won the 2nd prize in the Electrolux Design Lab 2015, an international design competition for students. Motivating their decision, the jury stressed: “Based on an unfortunate, urgent need, utilizing available technology, this is a concept which has immediate market potential, contributing to healthier infants. This product could potentially save lives.”
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has observed that indoor air can be 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air. Occasionally, there are even 100 times more toxins than outside. The World Allergy Organization (WAO) estimated that in 2011 30–40% of people around the world had at least one allergy. In 2014, the Global Asthma Network (GAN) reported 334 million cases of asthma. If not enough attention is paid to indoor air quality, allergic conditions will become even more common as the rates of time spent indoors are extremely high: 85–90% in Europe and 90% in the US.
Polish startup Emerald has come up with a solution: E-nose Emerald, an indoor air quality monitoring device. It has 4 sensors which measure air quality, temperature, humidity and pressure. All the data are provided via a mobile app. An air quality check-up is very simple: you just need to touch the e-nose: if it turns green, the air is clean; if it turns red, some parameters are out of range.
Emerald’s start was successful: it won the Startup Fest Agora 2015, the 5th edition of a competition of the most interesting Polish startup projects. Asked to explain the jury’s choice, Arkadiusz Hajduk, Director of Innovation at Energa Group, said: “Air quality monitoring is an element of the intelligent house. The project authors convinced that they are able to execute an ambitious vision.”
References:  World Bank via Sophia Yan, CNNMoney /  Jennifer Pak, The Telegraph /  AJ+, YouTube /  electroluxdesignlab.com /  PR Newswire /  US EPA via Mercola.com /  European Commission /  World Future Fund /  Krzysztof Majdan, wyborcza.biz