An unusual solution – (not just) for unusual times

Students in a classroom wearing face masks

Mobile indoor air sterilizer BerlinerLuft.Pure sets new standards for disinfection and noise levels.

What can you actually do about germs in room air? A closer look at classrooms, hospitals, and offices reveals that the solutions implemented to date are either impractical or ineffective. That’s why two air quality professionals from Berlin joined together to develop a new type of mobile air sterilizer. With a combination of mechanical filters and UV-C disinfection, the BerlinerLuft.Pure model not only complies with the highest safety standards, it also guarantees extremely quiet operation.

Even before the arrival of the pandemic – when the general public was for the most part unconcerned about infectious aerosols in room air – physicist Dr. Thomas Lederer was looking for an indoor air sterilizer for a high-risk patient in his personal sphere. His examination of the market was “sobering,” he recalls. “There were and are devices on the market like air ionizers, for example, that do absolutely nothing, and others that use active carbon filters that are completely useless against aerosols.”

Other shortcomings he found included airflow capacities that were much too low (just 100 m³/h), the inferior level of disinfection of many UV sterilizers, and unnecessarily high filter performance, as in the case of H14 HEPA filters. “These devices also have totally unnecessary features, like thermal disinfection of filters that simply serves to drive the device’s power consumption through the roof. In any case, all the devices with any significant disinfecting capacity were much too loud,” says Lederer.

Hybrid-based indoor air sterilizer as a solution

So the former director and professor at the National Metrology Institute of Germany (PTB) began to work on developing an alternative that met all his key requirements for a “safe, mobile, and quiet” solution. It had to have a capacity of roughly 1,000 m³/h. Lederer was also looking for a durable design because, he says, “The pandemic is going to be with us for a while, and healthy, germ-free indoor air is going to continue to be an important topic.”

In the age of digitalization and the IoT, it’s no longer possible to get by without a network connection.
Dr. Thomas Lederer, Founder and Managing Director of APC GmbH

Simultaneously, the family business BerlinerLuft. Technik GmbH, as an expert in the field of air conditioning and ventilation, had developed a hybrid room air sterilizer that even exceeds these requirements.

In collaboration with Dr. Lederer a device was created that combines mechanical filters and UV-C disinfection. It has been on the market under the brand name BerlinerLuft.Pure since November 2020 and offers extremely high cleaning performance at high volume flows of up to 1600 m³ / h.

At the same time, this newly development device with a noise level of less than 39 dB (A) is the quietest model among all room air sterilizers with high cleaning performance. All functional properties of the BerlinerLuft.Pure have also been certified by accredited, independent testing laboratories.

The degree of disinfection of more than 99.9% at 1600 m³/h with ozone-free operation was recently confirmed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics, and the TÜV certified compliance with the highest safety requirements for the operation of the BerlinerLuft.Pure.

The technical basis for its high performance is the device’s innovative control. The flow rate and other parameters can be customized to specific room conditions. The temperature-sensitive UV-C lamps can also be precisely monitored and optimized.

In addition to control, the second factor that makes this air sterilizer unique is the fact that it’s the only air disinfection device on the market that’s network-capable – meaning that it can be connected to the operator’s network or a secure cloud via W-LAN or 4G mobile phone technology. Users can control, program, and connect it to other household technology, not only from the operator display but also using a PC, mobile device, or app.

“In the age of digitalization and the IoT, it’s no longer possible to get by without a network connection,” Lederer concludes. “In large part, a cloud solution guarantees absolute operational reliability, because it allows the remote monitoring, diagnosis, and maintenance of all parts of the system.” One benefit is in the filters: To remain functional, they have to be maintained and replaced at regular intervals. Often – in schools in particular – there’s no qualified staff able to perform this operation. When connected to the cloud, the necessary reliability can be ensured by status monitoring and a predictive maintenance model, especially with leasing models.

Siemens’ OEM partner BerlinerLuft

The indoor air sterilizer developed by Thomas Lederer and marketed by his company Advanced Purification Concepts GmbH (APC) is built by BerlinerLuft Technik GmbH. This globally active, highly respected, long-established company with headquarters in Berlin-Lichtenberg specializes in complex systems, devices, and components for developing complete ventilation and air-conditioning units. The company’s experience and expertise gained from countless major projects in technical building services are now being incorporated in the production of the BerlinerLuft.Pure model.

BerlinerLuft, the internationally active and renowned company based in Berlin-Lichtenberg is specialized in complex systems, devices and components for the construction of complete ventilation and air conditioning systems. It manufactures the jointly developed BerlinerLuft.Pure at several production sites in Germany and Europe. 

As an original equipment manufacturer (OEM), the company has long been a partner of Siemens. “We’ve always relied on Siemens as a supplier, starting with our first temperature control valves,” recalls Product Manager Stefan Neupetsch. “That’s why there was no question about whether we’d use core components from Siemens in this sophisticated new product.” Lederer welcomed the decision, because he too is impressed with Siemens as a manufacturer. “BerlinerLuft places a high premium on quality, which is why I wasn’t really surprised that they used Siemens components.”

Specifically, they use controllers and sensors from the Siemens Climatix portfolio, including a complete line of flexible and scalable closed-loop and open-loop control solutions – from standardized to freely programmable – for all types of HVAC applications in the OEM sector. The network connection is implemented via Climatix IC, a solution for remote monitoring and smart diagnostics that makes it possible to efficiently collect and evaluate recorded system data using powerful IoT analysis tools. The operator panel and the sensors for monitoring the UV-C lamp also come from Siemens.

Thomas Lederer's company Advanced Purification Concepts GmbH (APC) plays an important role in the distribution of the device. In addition to logistics, financial services and funding advice, APC also offers cloud-based remote maintenance and monitoring based on Siemens Climatix IC.

We’ve always relied on Siemens as a supplier, starting with our first temperature control valves.
Stefan Neupetsch, Product Manager, BerlinerLuft Technik GmbH

A look back and a look ahead

The new BerlinerLuft.Pure indoor air sterilizer is designed as a standalone solution, but it can also be used to supplement air-handling units (AHUs). It’s suitable for all indoor spaces where people spend time, including hospitals, retail stores, and office buildings. However, the marketing strategy’s initial focus is on schools and daycare centers – a successful venture, says APC Managing Director Lederer. “Despite the lockdown, we’ve already delivered a large quantity to schools in the first few months following the market launch last November.”

One reason is attributable to the latest recommendations issued by the German Commission on Indoor Hygiene (IRK) to Germany’s Environmental Protection Agency (UBA): to “use mobile air sterilizers as a supplement to active ventilation in schools during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.” The public sector is now required to follow these guidelines when purchasing indoor air-disinfection devices. BerlinerLuft.Pure is currently the only model that fully meets these requirements. As a result, BerlinerLuft is already expanding its production capacities and also plans on extending its range of models.

April 8, 2021

Picture credits: Siemens AG / Getty Images