What are you doing right now? Correct, you are reading. And what else? Was your answer, “nothing?” Patrik Tedsjö is right when he says: “We breathe without really thinking about it. And we take clean air for granted.” When Tedsjö is sitting on the sofa at home in Mariestad or taking in Sweden’s nature at the weekend, he often breathes in and out consciously. But the 50-year-old’s work routine also focuses on clean air: Tedsjö is the CEO of Elfi.
The company’s 30 employees develop and produce air purifiers and air purifying systems. From tranquil Alingsås, just 50 kilometers to the north-east of Gothenburg, thousands of units are currently shipped to ten countries — and growing. The public has finally become aware of air quality. “Basically, our units are in use where there are problems with the air,” Tedsjö said. “Twenty years ago, nobody thought about it. Today, clean air is a major concern.”
A poisonous cocktail
According to a current World Health Organization report, nine out of ten people breathe contaminated air — and not only those who are moving around outside, on the streets of a major city. In homes and offices, all sorts of stuff is flying through the air and not only literally taking the breath away from people with allergies. In addition to dust, pollen, spores and bacteria, lots of volatile organic compounds (VOC) — substances used in paint, personal care products or cleaning agents, for example — are in the air we breathe. And these products are based on chemicals and oil. In interiors, they evaporate quickly and can combine with other gases to form compounds such as ozone or fine dust particles. In the Science trade journal, scientists have warned about an insufficiently researched “interior chemical cocktail.”
“Our air purifiers can filter up to 99.98 percent of the particles from the air, eliminating odors and gas in the process.”
Patrik Tedsjö, CEO of Elfi Elektrofilter
Poorly researched perhaps — but not inevitable. “Our air purifiers can filter up to 99.98 percent of the particles from the air, eliminating odors and gas in the process,” said Tedsjö. Their effectiveness is based on the patented electrostatic filtering method that Elfi air purifiers and the affiliated Woods consumer brand work with: ionization. The particles in the air that the unit sucks in have a slight positive charge. The negatively charged filter surface attracts the ionized particles. Without loss of pressure, the air flows through the HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter.
Shhh, the children are breathing
Tedsjö says that his employees’ expertise is not the only thing that makes the air purifiers so effective: “Fans from ebm-papst are perfect for us.” To enable the air to flow through the purifier, Elfi uses 12-volt DC centrifugal fans with speed regulation. “They are the key to our air purifiers’ low energy consumption and low noise emission,” said Tedsjö. Neither benefit should be underestimated — think about children sleeping through the night or parents concentrating at work, whether in an urban open office situation or at an oil refinery office.
Lars Kyrklund also praises the fans from ebm-papst as being “unbeatably efficient.” The freelance technical consultant develops air purifier systems for Elfi and until recently, worked on a project showing that particle-free air inspires both human lungs and visions of the future. Kyrklund integrated an Elfi air purification system into the hologram table from Euclideon, the Australian company.
Clean air for holograms
This high-tech table creates 3D models such as architects’ designs. But it only works in the absence of particles that could cloud the projection. “I selected an Elfi air purification system for the table because it is extremely energy efficient. The amount of clean air that just one watt delivers is amazing — and of course the design is not the only contributing factor. The fans also play a major role. After all, the energy consumption level of an air purification system depends on them,” said Kyrklund.
Kyrklund used the same fans for the hologram table that Elfi used for the air purifiers that are found in residential spaces. At home, Tedsjö has one in every room. As he is well aware: “There are no ‘good particles’ in the air.