Public transport is in crisis – clean air technology could be the solution

To coincide with the company’s appearance at the UITP Asia-Pacific Conference this week, Marc Ottolini, CEO of AirLabs writes of the potential for air cleaning technology to solve the public transport crisis caused by COVID-19.

The public transport industry is under strain.

The global lockdowns at the start of the COVID-19 crisis led to a staggering 90% drop in revenue and the recovery has been sluggish, with revenues still down by almost half and not expected to return to normal until 2024 at the earliest.

Public transport providers have played a valiant role in supporting our economies and helping commuters into work during the pandemic, often running increased services despite significantly reduced passenger numbers due to social distancing. But they cannot continue to do that forever. Already we have seen a number of providers warn that their businesses are under serious threat, which will only get worse the longer the pandemic continues.

Customer confidence is at an all time low and recent research has shown that 70% of Londoners no longer feel comfortable with the idea of commuting to work via public transport, so how can we make public transport COVID-safe and persuade the public to get back on board?

Airborne coronavirus

To reduce the risk of catching coronavirus we must first understand how it is spread.

Everyone is now familiar with three of the key prevention methods – washing your hands, wearing a mask and maintaining social distance. These measures avoid people catching the virus by transmission from surfaces and from droplets, which can occur when in close contact to others.

However, there is a third, less well-known way of transmitting the virus, which is via aerosols – small particles that we transmit when we breathe out, talk, sneeze, laugh or cough.

Imagine them as the clouds of steam that you breathe out on a cold day. You will notice that the cloud is most concentrated nearest to you but can travel significant distances before dispersing.

Leading scientists have been campaigning for more attention to be paid to the airborne route of transmission throughout the year and the World Health Organisation and CDC have since acknowledged that coronavirus can be spread via airborne transmission.

Social distancing can help to protect the public from this invisible threat, however, evidence shows that coronavirus particles can remain live and suspended in the air for up to three hours in enclosed spaces.

Masks are effective at containing larger droplets, but studies have shown they can allow as much as 70% of infected aerosols to pass.

This means that on public transport one infected passenger could potentially contaminate the whole vehicle.

The role of technology

Ventilation is at the heart of the solution for airborne coronavirus but in a transport setting can prove challenging.

Weather and customer comfort make opening windows a challenge and vehicle ventilation and air conditioning systems can be more dangerous by re-distributing contaminated air throughout the vehicle.

The key is to be able to efficiently filter the air of airborne pathogens and deliver enough clean air to create a “clean air zone” for passengers and drivers.

Our AirBubbl in-vehicle air cleaning device does just that and is already being used to protect bus drivers in Europe and the US in addition to being used in private hire and patient transport vehicles dealing with the pandemic.

The device, which is roughly the size of a Bluetooth speaker, removes more than 95% of airborne viruses and contaminated particulate matter and floods the space with over 30,000 litres of clean air every hour to keep drivers and passengers safe.

AiroSafe

The AirBubbl is the perfect device for small spaces, however the passenger cabins of public transportation provide a different challenge.

That’s why we’ve developed the AiroSafe, which is specifically designed to remove airborne viruses and contaminated particles from the passenger cabins of public transportation, including buses, coaches and trains. It does that by providing each passenger with a personal clean air zone at their seat.

A single person exhales eight liters of air per minute, while the AiroSafe filters an impressive 600 liters of air in the same time ensuring that every passenger seat is flooded with clean air.

Like the AirBubbl, the device filters more than 95% of airborne viruses and contaminated particles, as well as other harmful pollutants including PM2.5, PM10, nitrogen dioxide and ozone, which are known to cause heart, lung and other diseases. This means that it will keep passengers safe even after the threat of coronavirus has passed.

The cost per installation is low, as running costs are recouped with just one ticket sale and the per installation cost return on investment can be achieved within a very short time.

Getting public transport back on track

At AirLabs we fully understand the crisis that the industry faces.

It is only by embracing this new technology that public transport providers will be able to confront this challenge and see passenger numbers and revenues return to pre-COVID levels.

 

Marc Ottolini, CEO, AirLabs

Bus company installs air cleaning technology to protect drivers from COVID-19

AirLabs now developing technology to protect passengers on public transport

  • Plymouth Metrolink (Minnesota) installs AirLabs’ AirBubbl air cleaning devices in 100% of buses to cut risk of driver exposure to COVID-19.
  • AirLabs now developing technology to remove airborne virus particles from the passenger cabins of public transit – first units due by the end of 2020. 
  • Both technologies can play a major role in reducing the risk of airborne transmission on public transit.

Plymouth Metrolink (Minnesota) has become the first bus company in the United States to install air cleaning devices across its entire operational bus fleet, in order to protect its drivers from the risk of airborne transmission of coronavirus.

The company has installed 44 AirLabs AirBubbl air cleaning devices in the driver section of their buses. The AirBubbl filters more than 95% of airborne viruses and contaminated particulate matter and floods the vehicle with over 30,000 liters of clean air every hour, to keep drivers safe.

AirLabs, the UK-based company behind the AirBubbl device, is now finalizing a new air cleaning device for the passenger cabins of public transportation, including bus and rail. AirLabs AiroSafe is designed to remove airborne virus particles from the passenger cabins of public transport, by creating a personal clean air zone for every seat.

The company aims to install the first AiroSafe units by the end of this year and is setting up a Public Transport Consortium to work with world-leading bus and rail operators to bring it to market.

AirBubbl and AiroSafe can play a huge role in getting passengers back into work and school, reducing the risk of airborne transmission of coronavirus on mass transit. With 50% of Americans saying that they are afraid to go back to the office when it re-opens due to health concerns, the technology could play a key role in reassuring the public that it is safer to travel.

Marc Ottolini, CEO, Airlabs, said: “As stay-at-home orders have eased across the US, the focus now shifts to how we can get back to business safely.

“There is clear evidence that this virus can be transmitted through the air and that the dose matters – more exposure can lead to more severe illness. Our air cleaning technology can massively reduce this dose and cut the risk of infection for drivers and, soon, passengers.

“Our technology has huge potential to increase confidence in public transportation and we are collaborating with some of the world’s leading mass transit companies to demonstrate how our AiroSafe technology can enable buses, subways and trains to return to full capacity safely.”

The AirBubbl devices have been installed as part of a range of measures implemented by Plymouth Metrolink to protect drivers and passengers throughout the pandemic, including temperature checks and evaluations for drivers, additional disinfecting measures for buses, fewer passengers and a requirement for everyone to wear masks.

Nur Kasin, Transit Administrator, City of Plymouth, said: “Throughout the pandemic, Plymouth Metrolink has implemented a range of safety measures across the system to keep rider safety at the forefront. 

“Metrolink safety measures include installing additional cabin air filtration (AirBubbl devices) in the driver section of all of our buses – healthy drivers means healthy passengers.”

AirLabs has had global interest in its air cleaning devices from businesses around the world that are looking to protect their employees and customers in response to COVID-19.

Aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2

A leading group of over 200 scientists wrote to the World Health Organization this summer to call for greater acknowledgement of the role of airborne spread of COVID-19 and the need for governments to implement control measures. 

Members of the World Health Organization’s technical committee have said that ‘evidence is emerging’ around the airborne transmission of the virus and published an updated scientific brief on the topic in early July.

Coronaviruses such as the one that causes COVID-19 are spread via respiratory droplets produced by infected persons when they cough, sneeze, talk or breathe. While larger droplets quickly fall out of the air, smaller droplets persist as aerosols. Smaller aerosol particles are of concern because they may stay in the air for longer, travel further and be able to penetrate further into the respiratory tract when inhaled, according to a recent study by the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory.

AirLabs has published a white paper on reducing exposure to airborne viruses using air filtration systems. It sets out the evidence behind airborne virus transmission and how air filtration can effectively remove bioaerosol particles.

ENDS

For more information, images or to speak to a spokesperson from AirLabs please contact:

Max Boon, Greenhouse PR: max.boon@greenhousepr.co.uk / +44 (0) 7765 325141.

Notes to editors

About AirLabs

AirLabs is a leading pioneer in clean air technology. With more than 90% of the world’s population exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution, AirLabs’ mission is to deliver measuring, monitoring and cleaning solutions that provide valuable insight, enable action and clean polluted air to make it safe for people to breathe. 

Its international team of atmospheric chemistry scientists, airflow engineers and sensor specialists has developed cutting edge and scientifically proven solutions for use by governments, businesses and individuals to tackle the growing problem of urban air pollution. 

The AirBubbl in-car air cleaner contains patented filtration and air flow technology that effectively removes particulates such as dust, pollen, soot, fibers, PM2.5 and PM10, along with bacteria and viruses and gaseous pollutants such as Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), Ozone and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). 

AirLabs is headquartered in London, has its R&D labs in Copenhagen and also operates from offices in Santa Monica, Boca Raton and Singapore.

BBC Radio Merseyside

Listen to AirLabs CEO Marc Ottolini talking to BBC Radio Merseyside about protecting public transport drivers and passengers from airborne coronavirus.

UK bus company installs air cleaning technology to protect drivers from COVID-19

AirLabs also developing new solution to protect passengers on public transport

  • Warrington’s Own Buses installs AirLabs’ AirBubbl air cleaning devices in 100% of their operational fleet to decrease risk of driver exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
  • AirLabs is now developing technology to remove airborne virus particles from the passenger cabins of public transport, with the first units due by October.
  • Both technologies have potential to play a huge role in getting commuters safely back into work by reducing the risk of airborne transmission on buses, trains and tubes.

Warrington’s Own Buses has become the first bus company in the world to install air cleaning devices across its entire operational bus fleet, in order to best protect its drivers from the risk of airborne transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The company has installed 86 AirLabs AirBubbl air cleaning devices in the driver cabins of their buses. The AirBubbl filters more than 95% of airborne viruses and contaminated particulate matter and floods the vehicle with over 30,000 litres of clean air every hour, to keep drivers safe as they provide vital public transport services.

AirLabs, the London-based scale up behind the AirBubbl device, is now focusing on its new air cleaning solution for the passenger cabins of public transportation, including buses, coaches and trains.

Airlabs last week received a $100,000 grant from Barclays and Unreasonable Impact to bring its COVID-19-response AiroSafe technology to market. The AiroSafe is designed to remove airborne coronavirus from the passenger cabins of public transport, by creating a personal air space for every seat.

AirLabs aims to install the first passenger protection units with partners by October this year, having worked closely with key players in the rail and bus sector over recent months to develop the technology.

AirBubbl and AiroSafe could play a huge role in getting commuters back into work, reducing the risk of airborne transmission of the virus, enabling increased numbers of passengers to be allowed back on public transport and reassuring the public that it is safer to travel.

Marc Ottolini, CEO, Airlabs, said: “As lockdowns continue to ease around the world, the focus now shifts to how we can get back to business safely.

“There is increasing acceptance of the role of aerosol transmission of this virus and that the dose matters, as higher exposures can lead to more severe illness. By installing our cutting-edge technology, you can massively reduce this dose and therefore the risk of infection.

“We have had significant global interest in our air cleaning technology since the virus struck and believe that it can play a major role in reducing the risk of exposure on public transport for drivers and passengers.”

Stephen Stringer, Head of Engineering at Warrington’s Own Buses, said: “The priority for us is to protect the health and safety of our employees, who provide an essential service, and of course for our customers, the people of Warrington. 

“By installing the AirBubbl devices we’re ensuring that we can reduce the risk of exposure for our staff, who have done a fantastic job in serving Warrington during this crisis.

The 86 AirBubbl devices have been installed over recent weeks in Warrington’s Own Buses entire active fleet, as part of the company’s ‘five steps to safer working’ approach to public and driver safety.

AirLabs is already installing AirBubbl devices in 100 patient transport vehicles operated by The HATS Group, to reduce the risk of exposure for its medical workers supporting London hospitals. The company has received worldwide interest in its air cleaning devices from businesses around the world that are looking to protect their employees and customers.

Presented at the The Unreasonable Impact COVID-19 Response Global Summit, along with Barclays, the $100,000 grant has been awarded to AirLabs as one of ten organisations to support entrepreneurial solutions that are addressing immediate and long-term challenges resulting from the pandemic.

Aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2

A leading group of over 200 scientists wrote to the World Health Organization last week to call for greater acknowledgement of the role of airborne spread of Covid-19 and the need for governments to implement control measures.

In response, members of the World Health Organization’s technical committee have said that ‘evidence is emerging’ around the airborne transmission of the virus and that they are working on publishing a scientific brief on the topic.

Coronaviruses including SARS-CoV-2 are spread via respiratory droplets produced by infected persons when they cough, sneeze, talk or breathe. While larger droplets quickly fall out of the air, smaller droplets persist as aerosols. Smaller aerosol particles are of concern because they may stay buoyant in the air for longer, travel further and be able to penetrate further into the respiratory tract when inhaled, according to a recent study by the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory.

AirLabs has published a white paper on reducing exposure to airborne viruses using air filtration systems. It sets out the evidence behind airborne virus transmission and how air filtration can effectively remove bioaerosol particles.

ENDS

 For more information, images or to speak to a spokesperson from AirLabs please contact:

Max Boon, Greenhouse PR: max.boon@greenhousepr.co.uk / 07765 325141.

Notes to editors

See below for a list of references and relevant articles on the subject of airborne virus transmission.

About AirLabs

AirLabs is a leading pioneer in clean air technology. With more than 90% of the world’s population exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution, AirLabs’ mission is to deliver measuring, monitoring and cleaning solutions that provide valuable insight, enable action and clean polluted air to make it safe for people to breathe.

Its international team of atmospheric chemistry scientists, airflow engineers and sensor specialists has developed cutting edge and scientifically proven solutions for use by government, business and individuals to tackle the growing problem of urban air pollution.

The AirBubbl in-car air cleaner contains patented filtration and air flow technology that effectively removes particulates such as dust, pollen, soot, fibres, PM2.5 and PM10, along with bacteria and viruses and gaseous pollutants such as Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), Ozone and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).

AirLabs is headquartered in London, has its R&D labs in Copenhagen and also operates from offices in Santa Monica, Boca Raton and Singapore.

Air filtration technology installed in patient transport vehicles to reduce exposure to SARS-CoV-2

  • Leading healthcare transport provider, the HATS Group, is fitting its vehicles with clean air technology to decrease exposure of patients and staff to airborne SARS-CoV-2 virus.
  • The first 100 HATS vehicles are being fitted with the AirLabs AirBubbl and will provide transport services to London hospitals dealing with the crisis.
  • High performance air filtration can remove over 95% of airborne particles that pass through the filter, including those that can carry the virus1.
  • Air filtration technology could be installed in a wide range of healthcare, public sector (e.g. school buses) and commercial vehicles, to help reduce exposure to airborne virus, particulate and gas pollutants.

Leading healthcare transport provider, the HATS Group (“HATS”), is installing clean air technology in 100 vehicles used to transport patients, including those who are known or suspected SARS-CoV-2 carriers, as it aims to safeguard patients and reduce the risk of essential workers being exposed to the virus.

Coronaviruses including SARS-CoV-2 are spread via respiratory droplets produced by infected persons when they cough, sneeze, talk or breathe. While larger droplets quickly fall out of the air, smaller droplets persist as aerosols. These aerosols provide an environment in which viruses can remain alive for hours allowing them to spread through the environment, according to recent studies from MIT and the New England Journal of Medicine2. Droplets and bioaerosols also lead to the contamination of surfaces, another route of transmission.

By installing air filtration devices and a suite of other measures in their patient transportation vehicles, HATS is seeking to minimise the risk of exposure to the virus for staff who will come into close contact with infected patients in confined spaces.

AirLabs, which is supplying its AirBubbl in-vehicle air filters to HATS, has published a white paper on reducing exposure to airborne viruses using air filtration systems. It sets out the evidence behind airborne virus transmission and how air filtration can effectively remove bioaerosol particles.

Studies show that the amount of exposure is linked to the incidence and severity of viral disease3, and ventilation is commonly used by hospitals to dilute and control airborne pathogens4. By using air filtration in an enclosed space and reducing the airborne virus load, there is a potential to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2 where people are in close proximity, such as ambulances, patient transport and other service vehicles.

Matthew Johnson, Professor of Chemistry at University of Copenhagen and Chief Science Officer at AirLabs, said: “Our focus here is on reducing exposure for workers who cannot avoid close contact with coronavirus patients, and for anyone working in essential jobs in enclosed spaces.

“The science shows that by installing air filtration devices in vehicles, it is possible to remove more than 95% of airborne particles. By decreasing the concentration of airborne particles that could contain the virus being breathed in by workers in critical environments, we reduce the risk of them being infected.

“Quantifying the potential scale of airborne virus transmission is a global challenge that many people are working to better understand. We believe a sensible approach is to use all available means to minimise the risk of exposure, in particular for those working in essential roles.”

 

HATS originally ordered 100 AirBubbl air filtration devices from AirLabs to protect its drivers and passengers from London air pollution. The installation has now been ramped up to provide an additional layer of protection for its workers from exposure to coronavirus, as its vehicles are repurposed to support London hospitals, including Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust and St George’s Hospital, which are putting protective measures in place to manage the crisis.

Ashley Stowell, Advanced Paramedic Practitioner and Clinical Director for HATS, said: “We originally decided to install air filtration to protect our patients and our crews from London’s air pollution, as part of our ongoing commitment to the health and wellbeing of our staff. As the pandemic hit, it quickly became apparent that we could repurpose our vehicles to help transport patients infected by SARS-CoV-2.

“In order to do this we decided to ramp up installation, along with the rapid deployment of extra vehicles for a number of additional services, including ITU transfers of COVID-19 patients and maternity services to a number of Hospital Trusts across London, in a bid to help reduce the cross infection on this mountain we are all having to climb.”

John Wenger, Professor of Physical Chemistry at University College Cork and Director of the Centre for Research into Atmospheric Chemistry, said: “There is increasing acceptance of the role of aerosol transmission of this virus. We will never know exactly what proportion of transmission is via droplets, aerosols, physical contact or from surfaces. But, when restrictions start to be relaxed, there will be a lot of people wearing masks on public transport, in supermarkets and elsewhere. This is because of indications that dose matters and higher exposures can lead to more severe illness.

“There is an obvious need for methods to reduce airborne transmission right now for people who cannot avoid contact with the public.”

To download a copy of the whitepaper click here.

ENDS

For more information, images, video or to speak to a spokesperson from AirLabs, HATS or University College Cork, please contact:

Max Boon, Greenhouse PR: max.boon@greenhousepr.co.uk / 07765 325141.

For HATS business enquiries, please contact Eileen O’Shea on E.OShea@hatsgroup.com.

Photo credit: Pete Cassidy on behalf of The HATS Group

 Notes to editors

See below for a list of references and relevant articles on the subject of airborne virus transmission.

Relevant articles

Science – You may be able to spread coronavirus just by breathing, new report finds

Nature – Is the coronavirus airborne? Experts can’t agree

New York Times – This 3-D Simulation Shows Why Social Distancing Is So Important

LA Times – A choir decided to go ahead with rehearsal. Now dozens of members have COVID-19 and two are dead

NHK World – Micro droplets suspending in the air

References

1 Azimi, Parham, Dan Zhao, and Brent Stephens. “Estimates of HVAC filtration efficiency for fine and ultrafine particles of outdoor origin.” Atmospheric Environment 98 (2014): 337-346.

2 Studies from MIT, University of Nebraska Medical Center and New England Journal of Medicine.

3 Lunn, T.J., Restif, O., Peel, A.J., Munster, V.J., De Wit, E., Sokolow, S., Van Doremalen, N., Hudson, P. and McCallum, H., 2019. Dose–response and transmission: the nexus between reservoir hosts, environment and recipient hosts. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 374(1782), p.20190016.

4 Department of Health, 2007. Heating and Ventilation Systems Health Technical Memorandum 03-01: Specialised Ventilation for Healthcare Premises Part A: Design and Validation.

5 CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) – defined as the number of cubic meters of 100% clean air produced per hour (m3/hr)

6 Harnung, Sven E., and Matthew S. Johnson. Chemistry and the Environment. Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Red Bull take action to protect their drivers as new analysis finds London in-car NO2 levels can be four times WHO limit

  • Red Bull take pioneering step to install AirBubbl devices in fleet of 21 cars to protect drivers from air pollution.
  • New analysis finds that parts of central London have average in car nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels almost four times the WHO limit.
  • Average in car NO2 levels in London found to be almost double WHO limit.
  • Comprehensive analysis based on almost 150,000 data points from 28 roadside monitoring stations over a year.

Red Bull, the international energy drinks company, have installed air filtration devices into a fleet of new cars to protect their drivers from pollution, as new analysis has found that in-car NO2 levels in central London can be as much as four times the WHO limit.

The analysis1, conducted by Airlabs, a leading pioneer in clean air technology, found that the average concentration of NO2 that can be expected inside a car on the road in central London during working hours is 72 micrograms per cubic metre of air (µg/m3),, which is 1.8 times the WHO recommended annual guideline value of 40 µg/m3.2

The highest reading came from King William Walk in Greenwich, which was almost four times the WHO limit, with an average concentration of 156 µg/mduring working hours. Roehampton Lane in Wandsworth and Holloway Bus Garage in Islington were also highlighted in the analysis as particular areas where NO2 levels were of serious concern.

In a car cabin the level of NO2 can be up to 70% higher than for pedestrians, due to harmful gases and particles being emitted from surrounding vehicle exhausts in close proximity. These extreme pollution flows can pass straight through standard car air filters and lead to much higher concentrations in the cabin than on the pavement further away from these sources.3

The analysis is based on 145,000 data points from 28 air monitoring devices across the Borough of London on weekdays between 9am and 5pm, over the 12 months from October 2018 – October 2019.

Marc Ottolini, CEO of Airlabs, the company that completed the analysis, said: “People assume that their car protects them from the air pollution in our cities, but the opposite is true, as levels of NO2 have been found to be up to 70% higher in vehicles than outside.

“This comprehensive new analysis shows that using your car in central London poses serious health risks to drivers.

“Any business that regularly sends its drivers into urban areas across the UK has a clear responsibility to protect the health of its staff, so it’s inspiring to see a company the size of Red Bull taking this essential step to safeguard their employees.”

Long-term exposure to NO2 has been directly linked to decreased lung function in school aged children, lung cancer, low birth weight of newborns4 and cardiovascular mortality5, as well as increasing the risk of respiratory problems.6

With the UK currently in an air pollution crisis, drivers are at risk not just from NO2, but also dangerous particulate matter, which has been linked to brain cancer7, respiratory and cardiovascular problems,8 as well as septicaemia, kidney failure, skin infections, Parkinson’s disease and urinary tract infections.9

Red Bull has taken action to protect the health of its employees by installing Airlabs’ AirBubbl devices in 21 new Skoda Scala cars. The cars will be driven by the Red Bull Musketeers – their on trade sales team – in central London and across the UK.

The AirBubbl mitigates the impact of air pollution by removing up to 95% of harmful particulate matter and dangerous gases from a vehicle. By installing the devices, Airlabs have found that Red Bull will reduce average NO2 concentration levels for their drivers in central London to 12.2 µg/m3, almost a quarter of the WHO limit.10

David Oliver, procurement manager at Red Bull, said: “We’ve become really aware and  concerned about the air pollution crisis which is affecting cities across the UK. Our Red Bull Musketeers spend a lot of time driving in cities and their health and wellbeing is vitally important to us, so installing an AirBubbl in all of our new cars is a positive step to look after our staff, as any responsible business should.

“The move is part of our commitment to make our fleet greener and reduce our contribution to air pollution. With the purchase of these 21 Skoda Scalas we’re moving away from diesel to cleaner low carbon and low NO2 petrol fuel as well as looking to move to a fully electric fleet in the next 5 years across all our 200-strong UK fleet.

“We’ll also be making the rest of the business aware of the best ways to help mitigate their exposure to air pollution when travelling to, and around, any UK city on business.”

Fleet drivers, including taxis, delivery vehicles and many others, make up a significant amount of London traffic and spend a substantial amount of time behind the wheel, increasing the health risks from in car pollution.

Air pollution levels have a significant impact on the health of employees, so much so that if AirBubbls were used in a fleet of 250 cars, over the course of a year, you could expect up to 30 fewer sick days for the drivers during this time.11

Dr Ian Mudway, Senior Lecturer and air pollution specialist at King’s College London,

said: “Chronic air pollution exposures contributes to 9,000 premature deaths in London each year12 and our recent research has found that professional drivers have particularly high exposures for extended durations – with taxi drivers having the greatest exposures.13

“It’s essential that we do more to clean the air in our cities to protect the public, as well as the health of essential workers in the transport sector from this invisible threat.”

The AirBubbl is the only in-car air cleaner that contains patented filtration and air flow technology. It effectively removes harmful particulate matter and gases in minutes, delivering clean air directly to the driver and passengers.

ENDS 

For more information, or to speak to a spokesperson from Airlabs, Red Bull or King’s College, please contact:

Max Boon, Greenhouse PR: max.boon@greenhousepr.co.uk/ 0117 214 1250.

About Airlabs

Airlabs is a leading pioneer in clean air technology. With more than 90% of the world’s population exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution, Airlabs’ mission is to deliver measuring, monitoring and cleaning solutions that provide valuable insight, enable action and clean polluted air to make it safe for people to breathe.

Its international team of atmospheric chemistry scientists, airflow engineers and sensor specialists has developed cutting edge and scientifically proven solutions for use by government, business and individuals to tackle the growing problem of urban air pollution.

Airlabs is headquartered in London, has its R&D labs in Copenhagen and also operates from offices in Santa Monica, Boca Raton and Singapore.

References

[1]https://greenhousepr.sharepoint.com/:b:/s/Airlabs/Ef1v6qDFda1KtpGHrGKUVd8BWDi7ffpWIw7NnXaFBNAWPg?e=ZYTarJ

[2] Data pulled from Breathe London stationary network. In-road pollution levels extrapolated according to  Zagury et al. (2002) for NO2 and Adams et al. (2001) for PM2.5.

[3] “Levels of ambient air pollution according to mode of transport: a systematic review.”, Cepeda et al. 2017

[4] “Air pollution in perspective: Health risks of air pollution expressed in equivalent numbers of passively smoked cigarettes”, van der Zee et al. (2016)

[5] “Nitrogen dioxide and mortality: review and meta-analysis of long-term studies”, Faustini et al. (2014)

[6] http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/112199/E79097.pdf

[7] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/nov/13/air-pollution-particles-linked-to-brain-cancer-in-new-research

[8] https://www.epa.gov/pm-pollution/health-and-environmental-effects-particulate-matter-pm

[9] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/nov/27/impact-of-air-pollution-on-health-may-be-far-worse-than-thought-study-suggests

[10]https://greenhousepr.sharepoint.com/:b:/s/Airlabs/Ef1v6qDFda1KtpGHrGKUVd8BWDi7ffpWIw7NnXaFBNAWPg?e=ZYTarJ

[11] Based on Hansen & Selte, Air pollution and sick leaves, 1997.

[12] https://www.scribd.com/document/271641490/King-s-College-London-report-on-mortality-burden-of-NO2-and-PM2-5-in-London

[13] https://www.bc-legal.co.uk/bcdn/997-291-taxi-drivers-encounter-most-black-carbon-in-latest-king-s-college-study

A breath of fresh air – new fleet of black cabs has air inside as clean as the Peak District

Technology has the potential to reduce pollution impact across the UK.

Londoners can try these clean air cabs for FREE for two days this July

Wednesday July 3rd, 2019 (London, UK) – People in one of the UK’s pollution hotspots will be able to breathe air that’s as clean as that found at Peak District National Park this summer1, thanks to a new fleet of black cabs that have been fitted with innovative air cleaners, containing unique patented nano carbon filtration technology. This technology works to remove up to 97 per cent of particulate matter (PM2.5) and up to 95 per cent of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) from the air inside the cab within ten minutes.

Ten electric cabs will hit London today, showcasing the technology in one of the most polluted cities in the UK. All cabs have been fitted with cutting-edge air filtration technology from Airlabs, the world’s leading pioneers in clean air technology, as recent statistics reveal that forty towns and cities in the UK are breaking World Health Organisation guideline limits for fine particle pollution.2

Created as part of a new partnership between Barclays and Airlabs, the ‘Barclays Air cabs’ will be available for hire on London’s roads for twelve weeks this summer – and for two days (3rd and 4th July) the cabs will be free of charge for journeys in zones 1 and 2, so more Londoners can get a lungful of fresh air.3

The World Health Organisation guideline safety limit for annual Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) exposure is 40 µg/m3. When tested in the Barclays Air cabs, pre-filtered air peaked at 111 µg/m3 NO2 inside the cab.

After minutes of using the air cleaning device, the air inside the cab dropped to as low as 5.7 µg/m3 NO2 – as clean as the air in the Peak District National Park, which averages 7 µg/m3 NO2.4

Matthew Johnson, Chief Science Officer and Co-Founder of Airlabs said:

“We’ve witnessed worryingly high levels of toxic pollution in cities across the UK in recent years, and the concern is only growing for those living and working in pollution hot spots – with London being one of the worst. An ever-increasing number of people are exposed to unhealthy pollution levels”.

“With the help of Barclays, we’re able to continue to grow as a business and commit ourselves to reducing people’s exposure to air pollution by developing new technologies and new solutions. Without the support of businesses such as Barclays, we wouldn’t be able to achieve the growth and scale that is needed for us to have the greatest possible impact on the quality of the air that people around the world breathe.”

Michael Albert, London cab driver says:

“My cab is essentially my office – and knowing that I could be spending my working day in dangerous levels of pollution is really concerning, not just for me but also for my passengers. When the weather gets warmer over the summer and more people visit London, pollution can become a real issue and I’m really pleased that these filters can bring a breath of fresh air to the centre of our great city.”

Juliet Rogan, National Head of High Growth & Entrepreneurs at Barclays says:

“Our job at Barclays is to back UK businesses by helping them grow, and we know that great businesses are often created by coming up with ways of solving the important problems that people really care about, such as air-pollution.

“This is why we’ve launched our new fleet of Barclays Air cabs, which can provide cleaner and healthier air for both passengers and drivers alike. We’ve also made ten of the taxis free for two days in order to help tech innovators like Matthew to take Airlabs to the next level. We want to help many more high-growth entrepreneurs who create growth and jobs for the UK economy.”

The patented technology is being trialed in cabs because pollution levels inside a vehicle can be up to two and a half times higher than outside5; measurements of London traffic show nitrogen dioxide concentrations up to 20 times above the exposure threshold, and particulate matter concentrations four times above the exposure threshold – both of which can cause short and long-term health problems.

Recent stats unveiled London as one of the UK’s most congested cities6, which means the 20,000 plus black cab drivers in London spend every day at work breathing in potentially harmful levels of pollution as well as their passengers.

But it’s not just London that could benefit from a fleet of Barclays Air cabs, as Airlabs reveals that towns and cities across the UK are suffering from unsafe levels of nitrogen dioxide7, with the highest levels recorded in:

  • Hafod-yr-ynys
  • London
  • Glasgow
  • Edinburgh
  • Stoke-on-Trent
  • Chepstow
  • Belfast
  • Bath
  • Bradford
  • Oxford

Barclays Air cabs are the first in a line of initiatives to showcase the positive impact of small businesses that are using technology to solve societal and environmental issues. Over the next five years, entrepreneurs working with Barclays will aim to add 16,000 jobs to the UK.8

Barclays is committed to backing the UK through supporting SMEs and entrepreneurs, who represent the future of UK jobs and growth. Barclays helps start a new business every 4 minutes, and nearly one million small and medium-sized businesses have been provided with guidance, financial support and more, including 100 Brexit workshops across the UK. The bank also recently launched a £14bn lending fund, to help UK businesses navigate the next three years.

-ENDS-

 Notes to Editors

About Barclays, Backing the UK and Unreasonable Impact

When the societies where we operate succeed, Barclays succeeds. That is why, for over three centuries, we have risen to the challenges that our communities face, and played our part.

And our commitment to backing the UK has never been more important.

Amongst the one million UK businesses we support each day, we’re helping a group of high growth entrepreneurs aiming to solve some of the world’s biggest societal and environmental challenges.

These entrepreneurs see that dealing with these challenges can also be enormous business opportunities. And with our support, they can continue to scale their innovations to help to solve these challenges and create new jobs in the UK.

These solutions are as dramatic as the problems they address, whether it’s purifying air with nanotechnology, recycling previously unrecyclable plastics or creating low emission bio-fuel from waste cooking oil. Barclays is supporting these entrepreneurs through the Unreasonable Impact programme, which since inception in 2016 has supported 32 UK organisations, which in the next 5 years will aim to generate 16,000 new jobs.

This is just one of many examples of how Barclays is Backing the UK. Whether it be supporting growing UK business, launching a £14bn lending fund for SME’s, or delivering over 100 Brexit clinics in local communities; Barclays is committed to Backing the UK.

About Barclays

Barclays is a transatlantic consumer and wholesale bank offering products and services across personal, corporate and investment banking, credit cards and wealth management, with a strong presence in our two home markets of the UK and the US.

With over 325 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 40 countries and employs 83,500 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.

For further information about Barclays, please visit our website www.home.barclays

About Airlabs

Airlabs is a leading pioneer in clean air technology. With more than 90% of the world’s population exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution, Airlabs’ mission is to clean polluted urban air and make it safe for healthy breathing.

Its international team of atmospheric chemistry scientists, airflow engineers and sensor specialists has developed cutting edge and scientifically proven solutions for measuring, mapping and cleaning urban air pollution.

Airlabs has developed a completely new filter technology that removes an extremely high percentage of toxic gas molecules and particulate matter from air streams, without obstructing the airflow.

This patented nano-carbon filtration technology is the first of its kind and allows Airlabs to create highly efficient air cleaning solutions for both indoors, outdoors and in vehicles. Its most-recent innovation is the Airbubbl, a device specifically designed for cleaning the air inside cars. Airbubbl is the only product that removes up to 95% of pollutants and does this faster than any other product on the market today.

In addition to their cutting-edge air cleaning solutions, Airlabs has also developed solid-state air quality sensor devices, which offer a unique combination of high accuracy, compactness and low operating cost. These smart devices will enable a breakthrough in large-scale deployment of high-resolution real-time air pollution monitoring networks in cities around the world.

Airlabs technology was used to create four clean air zones at London’s Marylebone Railway Station and the first clean air retail store, the Stella McCartney store on Old Bond Street. Airlabs also provided the technology behind Michael Pinsky’s ‘Pollution Pods’ installation at Somerset House.

Airlabs is headquartered in London, has its R&D labs in Copenhagen and also operates from offices in Santa Monica, Boca Raton and Singapore.

References

[1] This is calculated using annual Nitrogen Dioxide data, supplied by DEFRA. The Automatic Rural Monitoring Network measured levels of NO2 7 µg/m3 at Ladybower Reservoir, Peak District National Park.

[2] World Health Orgnaisation, 2018. Report can be found at ttps://www.who.int/airpollution/data/cities/en Global Ambient air pollution database, by country – (update 2018)

[3] Terms and conditions can be found at https://home.barclays/aircabs

[4] Source: measurements inside a Barclays Air cab on 1st July 2019 in Westminster, Central London.

[5]   Source: Comparison of air pollution exposures in active vs passive travel mode in European cities: a quantitative review – Environment International 99 (2017)

[6] https://www.tomtom.com/en_gb/traffic-index/ranking

[7] British Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs. The WHO Guideline safety limit for annual NO2 exposure is 40 µg/m3

[8] This commitment comes via the Unreasonable Impact programme. For further details please visit https://unreasonablegroup.com/initiatives/unreasonable-impact/