Breathing Innovation: Air Support Project's Fan-and-Filter Open-Source Prototype Receives Funding from the Balvi Foundation

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Air Support Project is proud to announce that we have received a grant from the Balvi Foundation, an organization initiated by Vitalik Buterin that focuses on funding high-impact, open-source COVID projects.

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A Collaboration with Balvi Foundation

Air Support Project is thrilled to announce a significant grant from the Balvi Foundation, an organization dedicated to funding innovative, high-impact open source projects aimed at COVID-19 prevention. This partnership marks a significant milestone in our mission to make clean air accessible to all, leveraging advanced air purification technology to fight against COVID-19, wildfire smoke, and other indoor air pollutants.

In 2022, the Balvi Foundation contributed $3 million to long COVID research and has continuously supported initiatives that bring high-quality air purification solutions to public spaces, including schools and healthcare facilities. In April 2024, we received a $650k USDC grant to transform our cube filter prototype into a scalable, commercial product.

Beyond DIY: A Vision for Accessibility and Education

Recognizing the need to make this revolutionary technology more accessible, our engineers at Air Support Project have created our first open-source prototype, with the goal of providing individuals and institutions like schools with an off-the-shelf, tested fan-and-filter-style air purifier at an affordable price point.

Pioneering Opensource Progress

The inspiration behind our project stems from the success of DIY solutions in air purification, particularly the highly effective DIY Box Fan Filter which has demonstrated exceptional Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) metrics at a fraction of the cost of traditional HEPA filters (See Figure 1).

DIY Box Fan Air Filters achieve a CADR of 600-800 CFM, significantly reducing costs compared to less efficient HEPA filters.

By integrating MERV-13 filters with high flow rates, our prototypes optimize air cleaning efficiency and offer an improved CADR-per-dollar than most HEPA purifiers on the market. This approach not only enhances air quality but also democratizes access to clean air technology by reducing costs.

Figure 1: DIY Box Fan Air Filters achieve a CADR of 600-800 CFM. They can be made at about an eighth of the cost of HEPAs that perform less than half as well. Characterizing the Performance of a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Box Fan Air Filter | Credit: Rachael Dal Porto, Monet N. Kunz, Theresa Pistochini, Richard L. Corsi & Christopher D. Cappa (2022) Characterizing the performance of a do-it-yourself (DIY) box fan air filter, Aerosol Science and Technology, 56:6, 564-572, DOI: 10.1080/02786826.2022.2054674

Although studies have been done showing the effectiveness of fan-and-filter models on removing infectious particles, endorsement of this technology by regulatory agencies is an evolving process. Organizations such as  CDC and NIOSH have recommended fan-and-filter air purifiers for combatting airborne contaminants such as COVID-19 and wildfire smoke. However, the EPA still recommends permanent solutions in tried and tested technologies due to the variations homemade models can have.

Currently, the project has made significant strides with a single-fan prototype, and we are now engaging with manufacturers to explore potential production avenues. This prototype was built to verify that a 16” x 16” footprint and 14” diameter fan would have acceptable performance. Our measurements indicate an approximately 600 CFM CADR with 55 dBa noise at 1 meter from the unit. We hope to develop a manufacturable design based on the core features of this prototype, at an affordable price, with a goal of further reducing the noise level with refinements to the fan and housing. This is the kind of transformative, cost-effective solution Air Support Project is aiming to bring to the masses.

Figure 2: Air Support Box Concept Design

Know Better, Breathe Better

But it’s not just about the product; it’s also about empowering people. We have updated our website to include our open-source prototype hardware designs, as well as to provide free educational materials on mitigating pollutants like COVID-19 and wildfire smoke. Our first edition of Clean Air Times, a quarterly science, health, and lifestyle publication, is now available to download for free here

Air Support Project is opening doors to knowledge and innovation. We were proud to be part of the 2023 Clean Air Expo this past October, where our engineering advisor Mark Denning spoke alongside top industry leaders, experts, and innovators on the subject of creating a healthier, more sustainable future in the face of COVID-19. You can view his presentation: “Going Beyond DIY: Manufacturing the CR Box” here.

And finally, in order to extend our reach and better fit our mission, Air Support Project has started as a Nonprofit Organization.

Embracing the Future with Open Arms

We are profoundly grateful to Balvi for their monumental support through the generous grant awarded to us. This incredible gesture not only propels our mission forward but deeply humbles us at Air Support Project. 

The grant, part of Balvi’s commitment to nurturing innovative solutions that address critical global challenges, has been a lifeline for our efforts to bring high-quality, cost-effective air purifiers to those who need them most. 

With this funding, we are poised to make significant advancements in clean air technology, making it accessible and affordable across diverse communities. Together, with Balvi’s partnership, we are setting new standards in environmental health and taking bold steps toward a future where clean air is a universal standard.

Thank you, Balvi, from all of us at Air Support Project—your support is not just appreciated; it is celebrated every day in the work we are empowered to do.

Invitation to Innovate

Our team is looking to expand. Air Support Project is now extending an open invitation to experts and enthusiasts alike. Whether you’re skilled in engineering, manufacturing, marketing, or sales, there’s a place for you in this visionary endeavor, and we invite you to contact us. Together, we can tackle the challenge of providing clean air – a fundamental human right.

As we embark on this journey, we remember the lessons of the past, harness the energy of the present, and embrace the possibilities of the future. Join us as we venture into a world where clean air is within everyone’s reach, where innovation meets accessibility, and where every breath we take is a testament to the power of collective action and visionary thinking.

Learn more about our vision at: Our Design – AIR SUPPORT PROJECT

EPI-YETI

EPI-YETI

I am a creator with a passion for clean air and a background in software development and design, making me uniquely qualified to lead Air Support Project in the fields of technology and communications.

SHEA O'NEIL

SHEA O'NEIL

Volunteer
Creator of COVID-conscious advocacy works: writings, art, and social networking. BA degree in psychology, with over 11 years of continued education studies in allergy and autoimmune research, and continued research the past 3 years into airborne irritants and COVID-19. Parent, disabled rights advocate.

This content is published under a creative commons — attribution/no derivatives license.

KNOW BETTER, BREATHE BETTER.

“I must fight with all my strength so that the little positive things that my health allows me to do might be pointed toward helping the revolution. The only real reason for living.”

FRIDA KAHLO