Solar Humidifiers Improve Eco-Friendly Air Quality
By Brad Frischkorn
Eco-conscious fans of room humidifiers can feel and breathe easier now as the first solar-powered humidifying machines have now arrived.
Designers at Daejeon, Korea-based Megacreate, Inc. see potential in their investment, after apparently doing some homework on market trends.
The company’s Solar Pan appliance sports a three-panel mini-solar array that powers a rechargeable battery. At a compact 180mm x 180mm x 180mm, the unit is built to look like a lotus plant, and doubles as an aroma diffuser if the owner wants to add oil to the 300cc water reservoir.
It even contains a 256-color LED display for nighttime effect. Fully charged and topped off, the unit can run continuously for up to 24 hours.
The company displayed a prototype at a recent Hong Kong trade fair. “The solar humidifier is a functional eco-appliance powerful enough for a bedroom that also looks good,” says sales manager Jamie Seo. “For people who wake up with dry skin and sinus problems during winter, adding moisture to the air can make a big difference.”
Both Koreans and Japanese know a thing or two about dealing with polarizing seasonal climates. Hot, sultry summers give way to bone dry winters in North Asia, thanks to massive southern Siberian air flows. Homemakers in both countries adjust by switching from dehumidifiers to humidifiers in order to keep the indoor air quality up.
For most people, comfortable air humidity levels range between 50% to 60%. A fall to the 30%-40% level invites skin irritation and higher risk of catching a common cold. Tokyo air falls to as low as 9% in mid-winter after topping over 80% in the summer.
The Solar Pan is also built with new nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) battery technology, widely recognized as one of most cost- effective power sources for battery-operated home/office devices. The 3-volt, 5600 milliamp unit provides up to 75% of the capacity of alkaline batteries at low drain rates and can last up to several years before needing replacement. Millions of hybrid cars worldwide run on similar technology.
Megacreate’s solar humidifier is part of a range of portable, smart consumer products in the six-year-old firm’s lineup, including smartphone speaker-charger holders and tea hand drippers, several of which have garnered patents and design awards in Korea, Japan, and in the U.S. Most of them employ largely recycled or recyclable materials.
Despite widespread adoption in Asia, the market for room humidifiers is by no means limited to the Far East. Awareness about maintaining indoor air quality, especially in commercial and industrial areas, has led to growing adoption of humidifiers in North America as well.
There, the market for machines of all types, including ultrasonic, warm-mist, evaporative, and steam to steam humidifiers, is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 5.4% from 2014 to over $300 million by 2020, according to Transparency Market Research.
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