A Seattle-based startup is developing a new air filter that it says will cost less than the alternatives, use less energy, filter out more harmful particulates and require less maintenance. The company, Pacific Air Filtration, has raised $1.25 million in seed funding as it prepares to bring its first product to market early next year.
Pacific Air Filtration is a spinoff of the University of Washington’s CoMotion innovation program. The company’s co-founders, Dr. Igor Krichtafovitch and Larry Rothenberg, point to the serious health risk posed by poor indoor air quality in large urban areas, and say current air filtration technology needs to be updated.
Most air systems use mesh filters to capture particulates and keep the air clean. Traditional electrostatic filters use metal plates instead. They are more energy efficient. But the plates get dirty quickly and need to be removed and cleaned frequently, otherwise the filters don’t work as well.
Pacific Air’s approach expands on electrostatic filtration by replacing the metal plates with disposable, inexpensive foam — sponge-like filters that are easier to manage and capture more particulates.
The company’s investors include members of the air filtration industry as well as Dr. Lon Bell, an expert in thermoelectric systems. Pacific Air is now looking for distribution partners for its future product.
“The mission is to fulfill the efficiency promise of electrostatic filtration in a way that’s actually workable and gets around the issues electrostatic has faced,” Rothenberg said.
Krichtafovitch has developed air filtration products for China, Russia and other international markets. He was working on air filtration issues with researchers at UW when he came up with the idea for what would become Pacific Air’s product. Rothenberg said CoMotion provided resources and intellectual property work to turn Krichtafovitch’s idea into a prototype and eventually a product.
The product is in the industrial design phase, and Rothenberg said Pacific Air wants to release it next February. Pacific Air will start by producing standalone units that clean a single room. Pacific Air wants to charge less than $500 for its product and get as close to $350 as possible. Rothenberg said competing products typically cost between $800 and $1,000.
Rothenberg said the company looked at producing larger units for HVAC systems in office buildings, but that would have been more complicated. Pacific Air wants to get its first product to market as soon as possible.