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Houston tech company earns worldwide patent for LED disinfectant product

CleanWhite can quickly and continuously sanitize high-touch areas through its light-based technology. Photo via Getty Images

Houston-based illumiPure announced that it received a worldwide patent for its LED white light disinfectant earlier this year.

Known as CleanWhite, the product can quickly and continuously sanitize high-touch areas while a room remains occupied and has shown an elimination of 99 percent of surface bacteria, spores, mold, biofilms, and viruses including SARS-CoV-2 through light-based technology. It's intended to be used in areas like kitchens, restrooms, and locker rooms and is safe for humans and pets.

CleanWhite uses spikes of light wavelengths at 405 and 470 nanometers to kill surface pathogens. Unlike other products on the market, CleanWhite can emit these levels without also emitting a visible purple-violet light while also suppressing blue light wavelengths.

The product's ability to safely and continuously emit these levels of white light allows it to kill dangerous bacteria and pathogens in just a few hours.

"CleanWhite features technology that makes it the first of its kind, achieving a sought-after solution to produce 405+470 nm blue light as white light," John Higgins, CEO of illumiPure, said in a statement. "As a result of this revolutionary finding, we anticipate the patent’s success across a myriad of industries, including education, healthcare, hospitality, and retail.”

CleanWhite uses spikes of light wavelengths at 405 and 470 nanometers to kill surface pathogens. Photo via illumipure.com

The fixtures appear much like any other LED light and have been customized for the commercial, retail, healthcare, transportation, hospitality industries. illumiPure has already partnered with six Houston school districts, including Tomball ISD, Humble ISD, Galena Park ISD and Barbers Hill ISD.

“Nurses love illumiPure technologies because they feel protected,” Ricky Shelton, Energy Manager at Barbers Hill ISD, said in a statement.

According to the company, it is also in testing with a major sports franchise and is working with the Reem Mall in Abu Dhabi, which is slated to be the largest mall in the world once complete.

Founded in 2017, illumiPure focuses on air purification, surface disinfection and indoor/outdoor air quality monitoring.

In addition to CleanWhite, the company also has developed an air purifier product known as the Air Guardian, which has been shown to process air for longer dose times and uses intense ultraviolet light and plasma-like oxidizing energies to kill particles.

It also released The Portable by Air Guardian, a mobile version of the air purification system, and the Vertices AQS indoor/outdoor air quality sensor this year. A residential version of the Vertices sensor is slated to roll out later this year, as is one more new product, according to the company.

Earlier this year the company brought some of its production in-house, by the use of 25 3D printers for its Vertices units as well as other auxiliary components. The growing company plans to expand its headquarters in northwest Houston sometime next year.

John Higgins is the CEO of illumiPure. Photo via LinkedIn

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Houston experts at the annual Pumps and Pipes event discussed the importance of open innovation. Photo courtesy of Houston Methodist

Open innovation, or the practice of sourcing new technologies and idea across institutions and industries, was top of mind at the annual Pumps & Pipes event earlier this week.

The event, which is put on by an organization of the same name every year, focuses on the intersection of the energy, health care, and aerospace industries. The keynote discussion, with panelists representing each industry, covered several topics, including the importance of open innovation.

If you missed the discussion, check out some key moments from the panel.

“If we want to survive as a city, we need to make sure we can work together.”

Juliana Garaizar of Greentown Labs. "From being competitive, we’ve become collaborative, because the challenges at hand in the world right now is too big to compete," she continues.

“The pace of innovation has changed.”

Steve Rader of NASA. He explains that 90 percent of all scientists who have ever lived are alive on earth today. “If you think you can do it all yourself — and just find all the latest technology yourself, you’re kidding yourself.”

“You can’t close the door. If you do, you’re closing the door to potential opportunities.”

— Michelle Stansbury, Houston Methodist. “If you think you can do it all yourself — and just find all the latest technology yourself, you’re kidding yourself.” She explains that there's an influx of technologies coming in, but what doesn't work now, might work later or for another collaborator. "I would say that health care as a whole hasn’t been very good at sharing all of the things we’ve been creating, but that’s not the case today," she explains.

“The thing that makes Houston great is the same thing that makes open innovation great: diversity.”

— Rader says, adding that this makes for a great opportunity for Houston.

“Some of our greatest innovations that we’ve had come from other industries — not from health tech companies.”

— Stansbury says. "I think that's the piece everyone needs to understand," she says. "Don't just look in your own industry to solve problems."

“Nobody knows what is the best technology — the one that is going to be the new oil."

— Garaizar says. “All of this is going to be a lot of trial and error," she continues. “We don’t have the luxury of time anymore.”

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