Bipolar Ionization Disinfection

The global outbreak of COVID-19 has created both opportunities and confusion about the most appropriate technology to disinfect air and surfaces. The goal of many business owners and homeowners is to kill the virus as quickly as possible without harming humans and to do it in the most cost-effective way possible with proven results. Bipolar ionization is a proven and cost-effective alternative to consider relative to ultraviolet and other disinfection technologies. To date, the vast majority of providers of bipolar ionization have not been able to manage the negative impact of ozone production, which has been a hurdle to the adoption of bipolar ionization. For a recorded presentation “walk through” bipolar ionization see the Germicidal Disinfection Webinar. For more on bipolar ionization click to see: HVAC Energy Savings

bipolar ionization advantages

CLEAN THE AIR NATURALLY: Ions are present naturally in the air and are found in the highest concentrations where the ocean meets the shore and high elevation in the mountains. The ionization plasma process artificially creates the ions found in these desirable locations and supply them into the building, enhancing the indoor air quality. Process has been around since the late 1800’s.

Units of Measure = ions/cc (cubic centimeter): Waterfalls/High Elevation = 5,000 i/cc; City = 200 i/cc Inside Buildings = <100 i/cc

BPI devices

HVAC duct systems are awesome conduits to distribute the high density of ions to the rooms in a building.

BPI integration with HVAC

Here is how Bipolar Ionization (BPI) works at a molecular level. For the expanded explanation, see the Germicidal Disinfection Webinar.

Bipolar Ionization - How It Works

CLUSTERS: The charged ions combine with oppositely-charged airborne elements forming clusters, which are more easily trapped in filters.


Cleaner indoor air and surfaces without harmful ozone production.

A) As the clusters divide to reproduce, bacteria and VIRUS cells are robbed of life-sustaining hydrogen and are destroyed.

B) Odorous gases and aerosols are neutralized on contact with oxygen ions.

C) Oxygen ions create a chemical reaction with VOCs breaking down their molecular structure.

VIRUS SCIENCE: Bipolar Ionization (BPI) inactivates airborne viruses. The bipolar ions surround the hemagglutinin (surface proteins that form on organisms and trigger infections) and change into highly reactive hydroxyl radicals.

The ions destroy the virus surface structure, in the case of coronavirus the spikes, on a molecular level. As a result, the virus cannot cause infection, even if it enters the body.

pathogen surface proteins

Measurement and Verification

Our field teams have ion meters to measure and verify the performance of the installed bipolar ionization devices.


The Air Ion Counter Model AIC2 is a handheld meter designed to measure ion density– the number of ions per cubic centimeter (ions/cc) in air. It measures this number separately for positive and negative ions (+ and – ions are usually present simultaneously). This instrument is a true ion density meter, based on a Gerdien Tube Condenser design, and it contains a fan which draws air through the meter at a calibrated rate. The unit comes as a dual-range model; AIC2-R1 has selectable maximum ranges of both 2 million and 200 million ions/cc. For comparison, a typical outdoor environment has 100 to 1000 ions/cc

Comparison of Ultraviolet to Bipolar Ionization:

Ultraviolet Disinfection

Ultraviolet light is an “assassin” that is largely shielded from damaging human cells by the earth’s stratosphere. Ultraviolet-C (UV-C) at the 253.7 nanometer wavelength is what has been used and proven to date to effectively kill viruses. The proper wavelength and dosage of ultraviolet light determines the success of killing COVID-19. Dosage is based on irradiation time, intensity, and distance, which is why our Purge Virus team works with clients to learn about their Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems. Air handling units (AHUs) produce varying levels of air flow in cubic feet per minute (CFM) and the duct or plenum dimensions help us determine the air velocity in linear feet per minute. We then size the wattage and number of ultraviolet lamps to disrupt the DNA of the viruses and prevent them from replicating. Ideally, the right ultraviolet dosage can prevent the spread of COVID-19 in a single air pass to keep the facility as safe as possible. Testing has demonstrated that ultraviolet light has the ability to neutralize viral pathogens

We created the graphic below to illustrate in a simple way that the peplomer “spikes” on the virus are like magnets that can bind to a human host cell. The right dosage of ultraviolet light renders the virus infertile and the process protects the human cells from contamination. If placed correctly near the coils on AHUs, ultraviolet light can also save energy by cleaning the coils and increasing HVAC efficiency.

comparison with bipolar ionization

Bipolar Ionization Disinfection

Bipolar ionization includes devices with high voltage electrodes to create reactive ions in air that react with airborne contaminants, including viruses. The design of the corona discharge system can be modified to create mixtures of reactive oxygen species (ROS), ozone, hydroxyl radicals and super­oxide anions. The ionization technology allows for the saturation of hemagglutinin with hydroxyl groups affectively inactivating the hemagglutinin receptors and rendering the virus ineffective and eliminating its ability to bind to and infect cells. Testing has demonstrated that bipolar ionization has the ability to neutralize viral pathogens.

We created the graphic below to illustrate in a simple way that the peplomer “spikes” on the virus are like magnets that can bind to a human host cell. Ionization generates electrically charged atoms or molecules, called ions, which are represented in the graphic as the blue dots to prevent the virus from adhering to the host human cell. When used correctly, bipolar ionization can also save energy by reducing the number of replacement air changes per hour (AHU) while adhering to standards from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

Learn more about Bipolar Ionization: See the webinar recording and download

Support Information:

As Americans and people around the world start to learn more about COVID-19 and review their choices for disinfection, the terminology can become overwhelming. Purge Virus has provided the highlights below to help serve as an informational platform.

SARS-CoV-2: According to the World Health Organization, “Current evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is predominantly spread from person-to-person. Understanding how, when and in what types of settings SARS-CoV-2 spreads is critical to develop effective public health and infection prevention and control measures to break chains of transmission.

Ionization:  The process by which an atom or a molecule acquires a negative or positive charge by gaining or losing electrons, often in conjunction with other chemical changes. The resulting electrically charged atom or molecule is called an ion.

Hydrolysis: The simple definition of hydrolysis is the chemical breakdown of a compound due to reaction with water. Hydrolysis via positively charged hydrogen ions binding to peplomers of the SARS-CoV-2 virus can render 99.4% of viral particles inactive on a stagnant surface within 30 minutes.

Peplomer: A peplomer is a glycoprotein spike on a viral capsid or viral envelope. These protrusions bind only to certain receptors on the host cell. They are essential for both host specificity and viral infectivity. The tail fibers of some bacteriophages, especially the T4-like phages, are modified peplomers.

The peplomers (red and orange) of a coronavirus


Learn more about the right type of disinfection technology for your facility.


Highlights on Bipolar Ionization TESTING RESULTS:

Purge Virus is pleased to share that our manufacturing partner has generated very positive results. The following information highlights the June, 2020 release.

RESULTS COUNT: 99.4% reduction rate on a SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) surface strain within 30 minutes, the first instance in which an air purification company has effectively neutralized SARS-CoV-2 in this manner. The laboratory study was designed to mimic ionization conditions like that of a commercial aircraft’s fuselage. Based on viral titrations, it was determined that at 10 minutes, 84.2% of the virus was inactivated. At 15 minutes, 92.6% of the virus was inactivated, and at 30 minutes, 99.4% of the virus was inactivated.

The testing results were achieved through a proprietary form of needlepoint bipolar ionization technology. For any kind of facility from commercial buildings to aircrafts, delivering the cleanest, safest indoor air environment will only become increasingly more important, and ozone-free technology is one of the most sophisticated products on the market. Bipolar ionization works to safely clean indoor air, leveraging an electronic charge to create a high concentration of positive and negative ions. These ions travel through the air continuously seeking out and attaching to particles. This sets in motion a continuous pattern of particle combination. As these particles become larger, they are eliminated from the air more rapidly. Additionally, positive and negative ions have microbicidal effects on pathogens, ultimately reducing the infectivity of the virus. This specific bipolar ionization is ozone-free and the only kind in its category to pass the RCTA DO-160 standard for aircraft. Traditional bipolar ionization systems produce harmful ozone as a byproduct. Purge Virus engages with companies that have advanced and proven technology and in many cases significant intellectual property. This particular producer has over 30 patents and more than 150,000 installations worldwide using bipolar ionization technology to deliver clean indoor air that is safe and healthy – producing neither ozone nor other harmful by-products. All of our Purge Virus bipolar ionization products are UL and CE certified and registered and purify the air by eliminating airborne particulates, odors and pathogens. Our Purge Virus bipolar ionization manufacturing company was founded in 2008 and is a US company. We have technology providers from the US and around the world, but we always appreciate the quality assurance and domestic job creation from American manufacturers.