Ford’s DIY air filtration kit can help reduce COVID transmission in enclosed spaces

The kit will serve as a supplement for existing filtration systems
by Leandre Grecia | May 13, 2021
PHOTO: Ford
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Ford has just unveiled its newest creation. And it’s not even close to a dressed-up Ranger Raptor, an off-road-ready Explorer, or an all-electric F-150. Rather, it’s a DIY air filtration kit that can be used to help reduce COVID-19 transmission in enclosed spaces.

Co-developed with Lasko, these easy-to-make ‘Scrappy Filtration Kits’ include a 20-inch Lasko box fan and a high-efficiency 20x20x4-inch air filter. The air filter is placed inside the folded cardboard base with the fan placed on top. The fan then operates on high, pulling unfiltered air from above and discharging clean air downwards.

The kit is intended as a supplement to existing filtration systems to further reduce the risk of COVID-19 virus particle concentration. The kit is based on Ford’s research, as well as studies from academic and government agencies. The science behind it is backed up by a peer-reviewed research article entitled “Airborne Transmission of COVID-19 and Mitigation Using Box Fan Air Cleaners in a Poorly Ventilated Classroom” that was published in the prominent scientific journal Physics of Fluids just this month.

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“We wanted to help underserved communities reduce the risk of airborne COVID-19 in poorly ventilated areas, and it’s great to not only develop something that can meet that goal, but has the data to back it up,” said Ford research and advanced engineering  director of vehicle research and technology Dr. Cynthia Flanigan. “We engaged with technical leads from University of Minnesota, as well as other scientists doing research in this space, such as Well Living Lab to make sure our research was rock-solid.”

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“Low-cost portable air purifiers, similar to those used in our testing, are impactful at improving indoor air quality when appropriately matched to a room’s size,” said Well Living Lab research scientist Dr. Meng Kong. “This is particularly important for shared spaces in older buildings where ventilating with clean outdoor air or making substantial improvements to HVAC systems is not an option. Portable air purifiers may be beneficial as one component of a layered approach of precautions, such as distancing, handwashing and mask-wearing, to protect individuals from respiratory virus transmission.

Ford is now donating 20,000 of these DIY kits to underserved communities, including school districts in Los Angeles, New York City, and Southeast Michigan. The company is also offering a downloadable template for the cardboard frame which anyone can use to assemble their own Scrappy Filtration units using their own box fans and filters.

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