NASA Backs Startup Developing 'Smart' Color-Changing Air Filters
Serionix to develop spacesuit air filters
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Serionix, a startup fundamentally changing the way we look at air, received a $750,000 contract from NASA to fund continued development of filters to remove toxic gases from next-generation spacesuit life support systems. The same technology is on its way into consumer products expected to launch within the year.
Poor indoor air quality is widely associated with significant negative health impacts; however, as awareness of this connection increases, Serionix is committed to making air fresher, cleaner, and safer. Serionix creates high-performance filters based on a proprietary adsorptive coating technology called ColorfilTM, which changes colors as it removes toxic chemicals and odors from air, while killing viruses, bacteria, and mold. Based on preliminary testing, Colorfil filters effectively absorb pet odors. Through an intuitive, vibrant color change, Colorfil lets users know when the filters are working — and when they aren't.
NASA has awarded funding to evaluate Colorfil technology for incorporation into the next generation of spacesuit and Personal Life Support System (PLSS), which is used during spacewalks to keep astronauts safe, healthy, and comfortable. The PLSS requires ultra-high performance air filtration to eliminate toxic chemicals such as ammonia and formaldehyde. This makes Serionix's color-changing air filters — built as a surprisingly effective antidote to cat-urine and other pet-related odors — a perfect fit.
"We are excited for the opportunity to work with NASA to send our Colorfil technology into space!" said James Langer, Serionix's president.
"What's truly exciting, however, is how the funding will indirectly support the launch of consumer products using the same core technology," Langer continued. "Consumers today have almost no visibility on what filters actually do for them — making purchasing decisions difficult, and making it nearly impossible to determine when it's time for replacement. With Colorfil, we are looking to change that."
The first phase of Serionix's project with the NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program began in June of 2016 and overlapped with the successful beta launch of their Colorfil air purifier and HVAC filters. In this second phase, Serionix will develop a demonstration unit suitable for incorporation into NASA's spacesuit life support system. In the meantime, they will leverage partnerships with leading industrial players to launch products in residential, automotive, commercial, and high-end industrial applications.
For more information, please visit: sbir.nasa.gov.
Publication date: 5/22/2017