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Anatomy of Sharp’s Plasmacluster Air Purifier

Since I was a kid, I’ve been curious as to how mechanical and electronic devices were put together and what made them work. Much to my parent’s chagrin, the electronics I received for Christmas were often disassembled with varying degrees of reassembly.

I’m still curious and have gained a fair amount of skepticism along the way.

As mentioned in previous blogs, a few months ago I purchased a Sharp Plasmacluster Air Purifier for my bedroom. My allergy shots have worn off, and my allergies for mildew, mold, dust mites, and seasonal everything have returned. For the first time in years, I need my rescue inhaler for allergy-induced asthma, placed on my bed stand, and now must resume taking over-the-counter allergy medications.

Long story short, within a week of using the Sharp KC-850U Plasmacluster Air Purifier in my bedroom, I was breathing freely again while sleeping. This unit also has a humidifying function, but I have not used it.

Simply Better Living #9: An Air Purifier Convert

I didn’t purchase the Plasmacluster Air Purifier because I write this blog. My need and the blog series were purely coincidental. I paid full price and didn’t want to be swayed, because I really needed something that would work. I did a lot of research before deciding to purchase the Plasmacluster Air Purifier, and still I was skeptical.

Curious Minds Want to Know How

Countless ionizing home air purifiers exist on the market. Given that the Sharp Plasmacluster Air Purifier worked so well for me, I decided to dig deeper to know how and why. So I went to the source.

My questions were answered by Ai Kasui, Associate Manager of Product Planning, PCI, with additional insight from a previous interview held with Plasmacluster (PCI) technology developer Kazuo Nishikawa. Both are based out of Sharp’s headquarters in Japan. In addition, I have excerpted details from technical pages from Sharp’s website, which are marked “Excerpt.”

Davis: How is the Plasmacluster (PCI) Air Purifier different from other ionizing home air purifiers?

Kasui: The Plasmacluster Ion has both positive and negative ions, but most others have only negative ions. Plasmacluster technology generates positive hydrogen ions (H⁺) and negative oxygen ions (O₂⁻). Plasmacluster ions are naturally occurring airborne water and oxygen, but in a different form.

Davis: How does PCI work?

Nishikawa: In simple terms, the mechanism works as follows: when H+ and O2- ions cohere around an airborne microbe, they combine to form a highly oxidizing OH radical. The OH radical extracts hydrogen from the proteins making up the airborne microbe’s outer membrane sheath, without which mold and viruses cannot live. In this way, releasing H+ and O2- ions to purify the air from harmful substances.

Excerpt: The OH radical bonds, with the removed hydrogen atom (H) to immediately form water (H₂O), is returned to the air. With their extremely strong oxidizing power, the OH radicals quickly extract hydrogen (H) from the protein on the surface of viruses and other substances, thus decomposing the protein and suppressing activity. The surface of things, like bacteria and allergens, consists mainly of protein. Removing the hydrogen atom (H) from this structure inactivates the undesirable substance.

Davis: Now that I am breathing freely, what are the other benefits I can expect from PCI?

Kasui: Various benefits of Plasmacluster have been proven by over 17 official test institutions and organizations in Japan and around the world.

Excerpts: Test institutions in Japan and countries such as the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, and China have proven the efficacy of Plasmacluster ions. GLP (Good Laboratory Practice) sets the standards for items such as the management of test facilities and procedures in test operations to ensure the reliability of chemical substance safety tests.

The Plasmacluster’s effects will vary depending on the usage environment—temperature, humidity, room size and shape, the absence or presence of an air conditioner and ventilation system, installation location, direction of ion generation, operation mode, operation duration, and individual user characteristics, among other factors.

Based on the results of its academic marketing, Sharp has worked in collaboration with academic research organizations around the world since 2000, proving that Plasmacluster technology is effective in inhibiting the activity of 29 different kinds of harmful microorganisms, including viruses, bacteria, and allergens.

Point of Interest

Since 2000, Sharp’s PCI technology engine has been deployed in top-brand refrigerators, cars, trucks, hospitals, office buildings, and more to remove airborne mold and dust allergens, suppress the activity of airborne viruses, and help with clinging odors. Sharp has sold 70 million Plasmacluster Ion technology engines worldwide since 2001. 

Click here to read the previous entries in this blog series.