New filter system brings relief to allergy sufferers

| Cleanrooms and Contamination Control

Audi introduces bio-defence mode

Audi has announced its own version of an advanced air conditioning filter on a high volume production model car to help allergy sufferers.

From this year, compact Audi models will bring a breath of fresher air to their occupants, thanks to a new air conditioning filter that not only removes fine particulates and harmful gases from the air, but also neutralises virtually all allergens.

If you want to survive a biological attack, you might want to look into buying a Tesla. Tesla Motors, for those who don’t know, is an American automotive and energy storage company that designs and manufactures premium electric vehicles, as well as electric vehicle powertrain components and battery products, Tesla currently produces the Model S sedan and the Model X SUV crossover.

Last year, the company unveiled the Model X, and CEO Elon Musk shared a rather unexpected feature during the unveiling: a “bioweapon defense mode” button.

“This is a real button,” said Musk, who was all too ready to have to defend the existence of the outrageous feature. He was in the middle of discussing how clean the Model X is when it comes to air quality both in and out of the car (the air cleanliness is “on the levels of a hospital room,” he said) when things got dark.

But the development has conventional benefits as well. Not only is it, according to company claims, 300 times better at filtering bacteria and 800 times better at filtering viruses, but it is also 500 times better at filtering allergens and 700 times better at filtering smog. The end result is a filtration system hundreds of times more efficient than standard automotive filters, capable of providing the driver and passengers with the best possible cabin air quality no matter what is happening in the environment around them.

According to the World Health Organisation, average annual PM2.5 levels (the most dangerous form of pollution) reach 56 µg/m3 in Beijing, 25 µg/m3 in Mexico City, 21 µg/m3 in Hong Kong, 20 µg/m3 in Los Angeles, 20 µg/m3 in Berlin, 17 µg/m3 in Paris and 16 µg/m3 in London.

Now, on the Audi, two versions of a similar advanced air conditioning filter will be used, each of which comprises three layers. What makes them special is the new outer carrier layer, which now features an additional anti-allergen effect. One variant reduces allergens by means of plant-derived, bioactive substances called polyphenols, which attach themselves to the receptors of the allergens. The other uses a modification of the protein structure to achieve the desired effect. Independent tests by specialist testing institutions such as SGS Fresenius, which investigates the allergenic properties, and Fiatec GmbH, which tests the filter properties, confirm the high effectiveness of the new Audi filters.

The two remaining layers also make a significant contribution to the high air quality in the interior. The filtration layer made up of special microfibres removes even the tiniest of particulates from the air. Gaseous impurities are trapped in the activated carbon layer.

A comprehensive measurement series documents the high effectiveness of the filter system. The arrangement of the layers ensures outstanding separation performance and conditioner air throughput over the life of the filter.

The new filter will be used in the Audi A1, A3, Q3 and TT model series. The new Audi Q2 compact SUV will be equipped with the filter at market launch. Customers can also have their cars in the respective model series retrofitted with the new filter as part of their regularly scheduled service intervals.

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