An Indian American family-run business in San Francisco, Calif., is seeking to help the world with indoor air purification, an entrepreneurial venture born in response to the unfortunate circumstance of an illness suffered by their young son.
Energy expert Dr. Yogi Goswami began developing the technology behind air purifier Molekule when his son Dilip Goswami, now 37, suffered as a youngster from debilitating asthma and allergies.
At the time Dilip was experiencing the severe symptoms of his condition, during the 1990s, none of the solutions on the market offered the relief he needed. This led to his father’s inspiration to develop photo electrochemical oxidation, or PECO.
PECO, which is optimized to destroy the broad spectrum of indoor air pollutants, was a method that enabled Yogi Goswami to establish an air purification solution to help alleviate his young son’s symptoms.
“Frustrated by the fact that nothing on the market worked, I realized that a solar water purification technology I was working at the Tyndall Air Force Base could be adapted for treating air quality,” Yogi Goswami, a distinguished professor and the director of the Clean Energy Research Center at the University of South Florida, told India-West. “This kick-started the development of PECO, which was based on principles of my research from solar technology.”
Goswami, who serves as the chief science and technology adviser at Molekule, has over 40 years of experience in education, research, entrepreneurship and policy in the areas of clean and renewable energy, as well as air quality. As an expert in renewable energy, he has given testimonies on energy policy and the transition to renewable energy to the U.S. Congress and various governments around the world.
As the president of the International Solar Energy Society, Goswami developed a number of policy options for renewable energy for various governments globally, according to his bio.
Among his stints, Goswami, a 2016 inductee into the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame, has served as the president of the International Solar Energy Society, governor of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers-International, senior vice president of ASME, and president of the International Association for Solar Energy Education.
Over the years, Goswami said PECO was being developed with grants from the Department of Defense and Environmental Protection Agency. But it wasn’t until they noticed the efficiency of the technology — specifically, destroying 4 million E.coli spores in a single pass — that they went forward to commercializing it.
“Seeing my child suffer from terrible allergies and asthma has shown me firsthand the way it can affect one’s quality of life,” Goswami said. “When I developed the PECO technology and experienced what a difference it had on his symptoms, there was nothing we wanted more than to share this solution with other people suffering as they were.”
Dilip Goswami, who was in high school when his father was working on the PECO technology, said his father would continuously test the technology with him.
“As I was growing up, my father gave me prototypes of technology to use in my room.” Dilip Goswami, who serves as the Molekule chief executive officer, told India-West. “Having felt the effects of the technology, I got excited to help bring this technology to others like me who suffer.”
It took two decades of academic research, countless publications and multiple patents before the PECO technology behind Molekule was born, Goswami said. The Molekule company was launched in May 2016 by the father, son and Yogi Goswami’s daughter, Jaya, to bring the technology to the public.
Molekule, which can be controlled using a mobile app, uses PECO and nanotechnology to break down pollutants on a molecular level, eliminating indoor air pollutants 1,000 times smaller than what a HEPA filter can catch.
This makes Molekule the only solution in the world that can alleviate asthma and allergy symptoms by destroying airborne viruses, according to the company.
Jaya Goswami, who earned a bachelor's and master's in mechanical engineering at the University of Florida and Stanford, respectively, serves as the company's chief operating officer.
The 31-year-old said her hope is to get Molekule into as many people's hands as possible.
"Molekule has had real, impactful results," Jaya Goswami told India-West, citing Molekule beta tester Katrina Klauer and her son. "We’ve seen the way this technology can change people’s lives, and that’s why we wanted to create a consumer product that can easily make its way into the homes of those who need it most."
Ultimately, the hope for Yogi Goswami is to provide this technology to people across the globe.
“My ultimate goal is this technology provides clean air to allergy sufferers and non-allergy sufferers all over the world,” he said.
The company also hopes that down the line it can develop larger-scale models to be used in hospitals, schools and office buildings.
Dilip Goswami, a graduate of the University of Florida and Stanford University, earning a bachelor's and master's degree, respectively, elaborated on his father’s goal.
“There are areas around the world where clean air isn’t accessible and our hope as a company is to make this technology available to people all around the world,” he told India-West. “In addition, as we look to the future, there are many more applications and industries where this technology can be beneficial, ranging from areas like hospitals to transportation.”
According to an article on broadcom.com, the company announced July 19 that it has raised $10.1 million in Series A funding led by Crisslink Capital with participation from SoftTech VC, Translink Capital and Foxconn, to scale production, expand its team and build the product pipeline.
The Molekule air purifier is available for purchase for $799, according to the company website. More information about the product and the technology can be found by visiting www.molekule.com.