Air Purity: An NXT Exclusive Interview with Mr. Takehiko Ryu, Regional Head for Southeast Asia and Oceania and Managing Director of Panasonic Asia

Concerned over airborne pollutants and pathogens that could affect your family? NXT spoke to Mr.Takehiko Ryu, Regional Head for Southeast Asia and Oceania and Managing Director of Panasonic Asia, about how Panasonic’s nanoe technology works to purify your home.

Indoor air quality is a major concern for Singaporeans as in recent years we’ve been subject to transboundary air pollution, and with the current Covid-19 pandemic it again raises the question of how we can better protect our family at home. Has Panasonic seen an increase in sales of their nanoe™ X and nanoe-G products due to this issue? 

Most of us don’t put much thought into the air that we breathe. As human beings, we breathe in about 18 kilograms of air a day – an amount that can fill a sphere that is three metres in diameter, 15 times more than the amount of food and water we consume by weight. Hence in order for us to lead a healthy life, the quality of the air that we breathe needs to be as important as the quality of the food we eat and the water we drink.

While the issue of air quality typically comes up only once a year during the peak of the annual transboundary air pollution season, we have seen a greater emphasis being placed on improving indoor air quality among consumers in Singapore as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. With government advisories that encourage people to minimise their movements and stay at home more often than usual, consumers at large have now become more aware of the need for better air quality at home.

As a result, Panasonic saw double-digit growth in demand in the Asia Pacific region in recent months for our nanoe™ X and nanoe-G products.

What are the health benefits of nanoe technology?

Our nanoe™ X products make use of Panasonic’s proprietary nanoe™ technology, which works differently from other air purification systems. nanoe™ technology generates nano-sized water particles by gathering invisible moisture in the air and applying a high voltage to them, creating electrostatic atomised water particles that purify the air, deodorise odours and penetrate surfaces to inhibit bacteria, viruses, mould, allergens, pollen and harmful materials (PM2.5).

The nanoe™ technology is also rich in hydroxyl radicals, which have the ability to remove the hydrogen in bacteria and allergens to render them ineffective. The small size of the nano-sized water particles means that they have a longer lifespan and the ability to cover a wider area compared to their ion-based counterparts, while helping to retain moisture in the skin and hair in indoor settings.

I’m sure that some consumers will have an adverse reaction to the use of chemical terms, could you explain how the hydroxyl radical occurs in nature, and how it works to help clean air in nanoe™ X technology?

Often known as nature’s detergent, hydroxyl radicals can be found in abundance in nature, and interact with hazardous substances in the air, such as pollutants, viruses and bacteria, to render these substances harmless. In a recent test report released by Panasonic together with Osaka Prefecture University, hydroxyl radicals were found to have a 99.9% inhibition rate on the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), which is more commonly known as Covid-19. By bringing hydroxyl radicals into indoor environments where they are usually absent by using our nanoe™ X technology, the same effect of neutralising these harmful substances can be achieved to create better quality air.

With nanoe™ X, over 4.8 trillion hydroxyl radicals are generated per second and released into the air. While these hydroxyl radicals typically have a lifespan of less than a second in nature, nanoe™ X envelopes them in water to create high-density hydroxyl radicals that are highly effective for purifying the air as well as surfaces, boosting their lifespan to 10 minutes. With this, nanoe™ X can even penetrate cloth fabrics such as curtains, blinds, carpets, as well as hard surfaces like our furniture to inhibit hazardous substances, keeping us and our loved ones safe and healthy.

How is Panasonic’s approach to enabling Quality Air For Life different from other air-conditioning manufacturers?

As a company with 100 years of history in bettering the lives of people all over the world, creating products that add value to people is at the heart of what we do. Leveraging on our experience as a one-stop provider of indoor air quality solutions for the past 60 years, we launched our “Quality Air For Life” initiative to drive company-wide efforts to solve indoor air issues and provide a more comfortable environment for everyone.

When enabling “Quality Air for Life”, our team takes a deep look at developing products based on the standards of comfort, health, safety and security, with careful consideration of regional climate and culture.

How does Panasonic enable environmental sustainability while enabling excellent indoor air quality?

As a worldwide leader in technology and innovation, Panasonic takes our responsibility to the environment seriously. We have been contributing to building a sustainable Asia Pacific for many years, partnering with our stakeholders to meet our Green Plan 2018 goals.

Since the launch of Green Plan 2018, we have reduced CO2 emissions by 11.8% and minimised the environmental impact of the chemical substances our company uses in our operations. We adopted eco-friendly technologies such as energy-saving technologies with the Inverter and ECO A.I. technologies. Panasonic’s air conditioners also use the eco-friendly R32 refrigerant, promoting greater energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

In 2017, we formulated the Panasonic Environment Vision 2050 and set our sights towards enabling more efficient utilisation of energy that exceeds the amount of energy used, aiming for a society with clean energy and a more comfortable lifestyle. We endeavour to create more energy than what is being used in our operations, as well as in the products that we develop for consumers.

There is a general belief that the traditional air-conditioner works to cool air, but because of the volume of airflow is unable to use a HEPA filter to help remove odours like transboundary haze, which is why there is a demand for separate air purifiers. Is this true with Panasonic nanoe-X air-conditioners?

Panasonic’s nanoe™ X air conditioners work by cooling the air and purifying the air at the same time. Conventional air conditioners generally use filters located inside the indoor unit to trap pollutants, but Panasonic’s air conditioners equipped with nanoe™X technology releases trillions of hydroxyl radicals to fill the indoor spaces and actively inhibit pollutants both on airborne and adhered surfaces.

In anticipation of the emerging needs for better indoor air quality, Panasonic is expanding our air conditioners to be equipped with nanoe™ X technology so that every home can get to enjoy clean and cool air with better energy efficiency.

What kind of new air quality innovations can we expect from Panasonic on the road ahead?

As we look to the future, Panasonic is committed to pushing the boundaries for air quality improvement through our “Quality Air for Life” initiative. We are constantly researching and developing new products to improve air quality based on the market needs, especially with the increasing demand for a healthy living environment.

Since the first nanoe™ technology developed in 2003 which was capable of producing 480 billion hydroxyl radicals per second, we have improved on the performance of the technology by 10 times. Today, our nanoe™ X Mark 1 generates 4.8 trillion hydroxyl radicals per second, which is a huge improvement on its predecessor.

Our upcoming nanoe™ X Mark 2 technology, which has yet to be released, will further double the effectiveness of the Mark 1 by producing 9.6 trillion hydroxyl radicals per second, significantly increasing its efficiency in creating a safer and cleaner indoor environment. When made available through our new range of Panasonic air quality products, this will be a significant step forward in enabling cleaner and better air for our customers in Singapore and the Asia Pacific region.