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Clean air, better living, good price

Discussion of air freshener and cleaning technology

When I was in the UK a few weeks ago, one of my friends asked me to visit with Aerstream, a company where he is on the board of directors. Aerstream is a case in point of the many exciting cleantech companies coming out of the UK. I had a chance to chat with Jeremy Smyth, one of their executives. Backed by a group of UK angel investors, they are looking to bring their product into the US shortly, and he had asked me to do some brainstorming with Jeremy on his various strategy options.

I came away extremely impressed. Their product is called CleanAer, and while the technology started life in drug delivery around an inhaler style device, they have developed a range of products for cleaning and freshening the air in the home or workplace. The home version is designed to do a better job of both a typical heated wick style air freshener and a several hundred dollar Ionic Breeze type system all at once.

The technology works like this: They have a reservoir filled with proprietary liquid solution (in this case including the freshener), which forces the liquid through a simple, low cost gravity driven delivery system, and then using a combination of a capillary action mechanism and a small electrical charge, they disperse and ionize the liquid into droplets in the air at an order of magnitude smaller than is economically feasible from other devices. Because of the charge, the tiny droplets once in the air attract pollen, dander, and other allergens, removing them from the air stream we breathe along similar principles to the Ionic Breeze.

However, because of the unique capillary and ionization technology, the end result is that with very low power (the home device runs for 60 days on two double AA batteries as opposed to a wall plug) the product puts the solution into the air in much smaller droplets than other technologies, and in fact in such small droplets that they can diffuse faster and more evenly throughout a room than competing products on natural convection currents alone - no fans needed. Simple in concept, hard to get right, and with a retail price point in the $60 range, much cheaper than anything of similar effectiveness on the market.

The technology around this delivery mechanism is covered by a range of patents, and they have the consumer product in stores in the UK, and available online, as well as some major industrial cleaning services companies. If you are interested in more information, the Aerstream website is, and you can reach Jeremy by emailing

Neal Dikeman is the contributing founder of Cleantech Blog, a contributing editor of, the blogger behind CNET's Cleantech Blog, and the founder of