ISCLEANAIR is an Italian company with an international mindset, founded in 2015 and launched in operational activities in April 2017 after an initial promotion and field validation phase. The founders of ISCLEANAIR wanted to capitalize on several years of research, development and experimentation of the APA – Air Pollution Abatement – technology, launching the initiative knowing of being a first mover with several challenges ahead before the introduction on the market, for that they initially focused on the testing and evaluation of the technology. 

The founders, experts and enthusiasts of social and cultural innovation had since the beginning the vision of offering differentiating solutions and services to address and solve one of the biggest problems of their modern society: the pollution of the air we breathe, with the ultimate goal of benefitting the health and well-being of people and the environment. 

In April 2017, ISCLEANAIR was successful in its first round of capitalization and proceeded with the launch of the roll-out phases of the initiative, which allowed the company to further develop the programs and implement APA solutions in industrial locations and urban areas, both by enriching the validation and providing a wider offer of ambient air pollution reduction solutions. 

Interview with Giuseppe Spanto – Founder & Managing Director, Fabio Galatioto – Senior Technology Management Advisor & Chiara Verderese – Business Development & Project and Technical Support at ISCLEANAIR.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Fabio Galatioto: APA is an innovative nature-based technology for air purification which, through the use of simple water and mechanical processes only, effectively breaks down and removes the widest range of pollutants and harmful elements present in the ambient air we breathe, such as particulate matters (PMs), nitrogen and sulfur oxides, heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), light hydrocarbons (methane, benzene, LPG, etc.), carbon monoxide, ozone, acetylene, as well as different types of microorganisms, pollen and spores. APA acts at ground level in a distributed manner, is without filters, does not generate any type of special waste, guarantees a constant rate of abatement over time, even with the highest level of pollution, and presents extremely low running and maintenance costs. Thanks to the uniqueness of APA technology, ISCLEANAIR is capable of acting not only in the air purification markets but also in the medical and energy efficiency sectors. In fact, in addition to significantly reducing air pollution, gives practical medium / long-term benefits for all stakeholders and allows the reduction of energy consumed by the Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) units placed at the service of buildings, because reduces drastically the clogging of existing HVAC filters and increase strongly their efficiency. 

At the same time, APA traps and kills the viruses and other harmful elements present in the air, and allows timely prevention and reduction of the risks of contamination through the air and related spread, protecting the users of the spaces. Thus, significantly contributing to restoring confidence in the use of internal spaces (buildings, offices, hotels and all similar spaces) making them healthier and safer. APA, therefore, stands, in these terms, with the uniqueness of proposing itself as a TRIPLE WIN solution, significantly differentiating from all other technologies in the sector.

E.E: What’s the news about new products?

Giuseppe Spanto: APA technology and the related solutions offer unique, innovative and competitive elements, that filter-based solutions have missed so far:

  • It is filter-less because uses only water, which can be from rainwater or even reused when generated by condensation from HVACs in buildings
  • Has very low total operating costs and up to 10 times lower energy and resource consumption, when compared with filter-based competitors
  • Abates simultaneously multiple pollutants (PM and gaseous/chemicals), viruses and other harmful elements
  • Provides a constant and high abatement rate over time (water cleaning properties remain the same), even when the levels of pollution in the air are high, instead of filters that become quickly less efficient/effective over time
  • Is zero waste. Even after months of operation, APA produces only a rainfall-like liquid, dischargeable in standard urban sewage
  • APA provides an overall negative carbon footprint, delivering the equivalent of 1,200 trees in environmental benefits
  • APA technology can be used to conduct rapid/inexpensive tests to reveal the presence of viruses indoors (uniqueness, it is the only one in the world)
  • APA monitoring solutions enable direct detection of specific pollutants in the APA water using novel in-water sensors (eg. styrene)
  • APA is also a Best Available Technology, (BAT – EC), for the abatement of pollutants; certified as a prevention and protection system (prevention and protection equipment, CLASS 1 – EC certification) and 100% sustainable and compliant with the modern Circular Economy principle and paradigms (evidence SOLAR IMPULSE FOUNDATION label and membership).

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

Giuseppe Spanto: We offer a wide range of innovative solutions to clearly solve air cleaning issues and have demonstrated over the years the ability to evolve and adapt to changing market needs, thanks to our differentiating positioning. Today we offer special projects and several replicable applications: 

1. APA Panel & Totem (Industrialised – TRL9) systems, mainly designed to operate in industrial and production sites, as well as large urban spaces, both indoor and outdoor. 

2. APA «Interior Design» solutions and products (advanced industrial design, fully tested and validated and now in the final improvements phases – TRL 7), for a whole range of indoor spaces with the objective to target mass markets such as offices, schools, Universities and similar spaces, shops and the domestic environments, to be sold mainly through business agreements with Large Corporates and market players. Existing solutions in the roadmap are flowerpots, mini panels, desks, types of furniture and other shapes, for various uses and spaces). 

3. Additional Configurations and Solutions are tested and in the prototyping phases (TRL 5 – 6) within prominent projects already acquired: we are focusing even to create disruptive APA solutions designed to serve the “HVAC Units” of buildings, thus increasing the addressable market by including these new products in the energy efficiency and requalification projects, extensively for commercial, industrial and residential buildings.

We are always looking for new challenges to develop new features and further innovations, to be added to our portfolio of over 30 inventions, 7 patent levels and over 20 of them already granted. An example is the new ideas in configuration for CCU&S – Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage and APA BAG as a wearable solution, but also new urban design solutions; and special ones for plants, equipment and point of emissions, as already proved in production sites and cogeneration plants (TRL 5 – 6).

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

Giuseppe Spanto: The market and stakeholders are increasing awareness, especially following the last pandemic crise and new attention to the enormous issues under our eyes, to be solved now: impacts on our health, needs for sustainability, large losses, severe events and climate change, energy savings and cost reductions. 

APA technology as a cross-innovation is ready to go on the market, for the applications mentioned above; it covers and serves several relevant sectors, all of them very mature and fast-growing, namely Air Pollution Control and Improvement ($74billion); Indoor Air Purification ($12.3b); HVAC systems ($136b) and COVID-19 detection ($3.3b), for an estimated TAM of $225b by 2027; an estimated SAM (10%); and in the next 5 years a prudential estimated SOM of ~1% equal to $225m. 

The average expected market annual growth rate is estimated at about 12% (2022 – 2027). 

However, the real potential market for the APA technology, due to the versatility of its solutions and the scalable models, is expected to cover an even wider market size, especially through alliances with Large Corporates, International channels, and market players, to act and sell globally.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

Chiara Verderese: The continuous signs of climate emergency on our planet, the enormous impacts and the many premature deaths associated with air pollution in our cities make our future and the next generations at risk. 

An estimated 3 times higher investments than today’s rate ($133b/year) are expected in the coming years (according to United Nation Environment Program, 2021) both in Europe and in the rest of the world for Green, Sustainable solutions, effective and as natural as possible that protect people where they live and work. 

This places APA technology and solutions in a privileged position compared to all other competitor products and their scalability and versatility guarantee a possible large-scale implementation in a short time; it means an immense opportunity to fight concretely the issues actively contributing and providing a unique service to the environment and people’s health.

As the use of our APA technology becomes widespread, all stakeholders will have benefits thanks to ISCLEANAIR and its positioning as a world leader in the “Nature-Based air purification solutions, even to serve the “carbon sequestration” market.

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

Giuseppe Spanto: Our air cleaning solutions filterless and water-based, acts at the ground level on the widest range of air pollutants and harmful micro-organisms are very innovative, indeed. 

Currently, the new most innovative APA solutions are those designed for interior design applications, such as flower pots, desks and mini-panels for indoor uses, and the latest systems to serve Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) as an add-on to HVAC equipment operating in the buildings (in relation to them we won 2 different prominent project, in Italy and in the UK), which in addition to air purification capabilities indoor allows also massive improvement in HVAC energy efficiency and performance (due to reduced clogged filters) up to 25%, as well as reduced maintenance costs, for an overall economic benefit that can reach approximately the size of 40 – 45%, when compared with normal filter-based (HEPA) HVAC systems.

E.E: What estimations do you have for the rest of 2022?

Giuseppe Spanto: The ISCLEANAIR team is very active in the promotion and dissemination activities globally, also proposing APA solutions as innovation and a new social service for people and the environment, which can improve the lives of all of us / everyone. We estimate to quickly improve our presence in the international market in cooperation with prominent players, carrying out and replicating our previous valuable projects conducted in collaboration with international partners, acquiring more visibility and carrying out the challenge to consolidate our positioning as a global leader in the environmental and ambient air cleaning sectors.

ISCLEANAIR is also working with large corporations to set up new projects to make APA business grow more and increase the company’s value. We are currently closing a round of crowdfunding which has exceeded the target and we now expect larger investments starting in 2023, also supported by new important plans issued by the European Commission (Green Deal, Zero Pollution Plan, 2030 Climate Target Plan, Circular Economy, etc.) and by international investors, in cooperation.