Sharp whose consumer products are now flying out the door, after Tempo was appointed to take over the local distribution, which in the past had suffered from lacklustre sales under previous management, has revealed that their proprietary Plasmacluster technology found in their air purifiers and air conditioners can actually keep COVID-19 at bay.
Research by the Japanese Company reveals that their air purifying technology can reduce airborne novel coronavirus particles with retailers now clamouring to get information on the unique Sharp technology.
Currently Tempo is managing a surge in demand for Sharp air purifiers and products such as fridges which has the Plasmacluster technology built in.
How this works is that the Plasmacluster technology, emits positive hydrogen ions and negative oxygen ions through plasma discharges, as a result it cut concentrations of novel coronavirus particles by about 90 percent in an experiment jointly conducted with Nagasaki University and Shimane University.
Since the research was conducted on a small scale and in a controlled environment, it remains unclear how effective the technology would be in a real-life setting which is what Sharp is now testing in partnership with the Japanese Government.
Researchers for Sharp’s experiment sprayed a solution containing the novel coronavirus into a three-litre apparatus equipped with a Plasmacluster device. The aerosolized solution was then retrieved after being exposed to ions for 30 seconds to check for an inhibitory effect.
The infectious particle in the retrieved solution was reduced by 91.3 percent compared with one that was not exposed to the ions, Sharp said.
“Based on the result of this experiment, we will consider and provide effective uses of the Plasmacluster technology to mitigate the risk of coronavirus infection,” said Masahiro Okitsu, who heads the smart appliances and solutions division at Sharp.
He said the next step was to conduct a test that more closely simulates a real-life environment.
The positive hydrogen ions and negative oxygen ions emitted by Plasmacluster devices are said to adhere to the surfaces of airborne viruses, fungi, and other substances. According to Sharp, the ions then bond and become hydroxyl radicals that can inhibit viruses by removing hydrogen from proteins through their oxidizing power.
Asked if Plasmacluster air purifiers already available on the market can help reduce concentrations of the novel coronavirus in the air, Jiro Yasuda, a professor at Nagasaki University, told the Tokyo Times, the effectiveness would depend on the level of ion concentration but that they are probably effective “to a certain degree.”While Sharp said its test was the world’s first to demonstrate an inhibitory effect on the airborne virus through an air purification technology, a few other Japanese makers have conducted similar experiments.
In July, Panasonic and Daikin Industries said their air purification technologies could inhibit the virus when attached to a surface (as opposed to Sharp’s airborne particles). But since their experiments were also conducted in small-scale controlled environment, how effective the equipment can be under everyday conditions is unclear.
According to the Japan Electrical Manufacturers’ Association, the shipment value of air purifiers has surged between April to July by 71 percent, compared to the same period in the previous year.
Plasmacluster technology is included with Sharp’s air purifiers and other home electronics products such as air conditioners and refrigerators which are now available via Tempo in Australia.