By Jody McCutcheon
Many in Europe and beyond have been fretting about air pollution levels being higher than ever this spring. Of course, outdoor air filters indoors, meaning that hundreds of thousands of people are putting their health at risk breathing contaminated air. Luckily for them, there’s a simple solution: the Andrea Air Purifier.
The award-winning (2008 Popular Science Inventions of the Year) creation is a living air-filtration system that’s been exhibited at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art. It’s also been sold in North America since 2010.
The Andrea system exploits flora’s natural absorptive and metabolic properties to purify the air. Using any household plant, plus its water and soil systems, Andrea becomes a multi-stage purifier that biochemically transforms waste and eliminates toxic, gaseous pollutants like formaldehyde from your home or office environment.
A near-silent mechanical fan sucks polluted air into the system, where it is absorbed and filtered by the plant’s leaves and roots and then by the plant’s soil and water system. The air is then forced through a water tray that leaches additional toxins from it, after which the air is fed back into the room.
According to lab testing, Andrea outperforms plants alone in removing formaldehyde from the air by an impressive 360%, while outdoing HEPA and carbon filters by an even better 440%.
Reading between the lines, one can conclude that plants are more efficient at formaldehyde removal than HEPA or carbon filters, but not as efficient as the Andrea Air Purifier. In general, the Andrea system’s rate of gas removal is more than 1000% faster than that of plants, and is more efficient than HEPA filters–especially impressive when you consider it’s this exact type of filter that surgeons use to purify the air in operating rooms.
As an added bonus, the Andrea system consumes little power and doesn’t use replaceable filters, since the system itself enhances the natural air-filtration abilities of plants. Just choose a plant (spider and snake plants are recommended), place the plant inside the Andrea system, flick the switch, and voila! Say hello to a genuine biomechanical air purification device.