As the threat of the use of chemical weapons resurfaces with the war in Ukraine, Calistair’s patented athermal catalysis process is of interest to the defense sector. “States and specialized companies have activated carbon-based masks and suits to block nerve agents and protect people, but nothing that can decontaminate a building in which gases have entered”, summarizes Alain Hachet, managing director and co-founder, in 2014, with two other Bretons, of this SME currently established in Seine-et-Marne and in Germany.
48 times faster than natural decomposition
Until now, Calistair, an expert in ambient air decontamination solutions, mainly designed air purifiers, which were much talked about during the health crisis, to combat the spread of the coronavirus by aerosols. It is by subjecting its unique technology to multiple tests, in an independent German laboratory, that its performance has been demonstrated against sarin and soman gas simulants, two of the most lethal banned nerve agents, even when released at low doses.
Manufacturers of fallout bunkers and various companies linked to the military sector are showing interest, as are state institutions.
“Hepa filters have no effect on chemical contaminants and charcoal filters, which quickly become saturated, have a relative effectiveness,” explains Alain Hachet. Our athermal catalysis process, by breaking the chemical connections of atoms, destructures the molecules of pollutants and mineralizes them. Only microscopic quantities of water and CO2 remain”, he describes.
Placed in an airtight chamber of 30 m3, Calistair’s entry-level air purifier (the C 300, designed for small volumes) succeeded in “treating and eliminating all of the sarin and soman type gases in one hour, instead of 48 hours by natural decomposition in the air”, assures the boss.
Buildings, boats, cars…
These tests were carried out last year, at a time when there was no mention of a threat of chemical attack. “We already knew that our patented technology was able to destroy viruses, bacteria, fungi and volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde, generated by furniture and coating glues. Out of curiosity, we also tested it on poison gas. This could be an additional differentiating asset with our competitors. »
Since then, the Russian attack in Ukraine has changed the situation. “We are called upon by the maritime sector because, in the event of an attack on board, the men could not leave the boat. Manufacturers of fallout bunkers and various companies linked to the military sector are also showing interest, as are state institutions, in France and abroad. »
Calistair (12 employees) is moving away from the saturated air purifier market to focus on the design of customized athermal catalysis solutions for large customers. Reactors integrated into air handling units to treat large volumes, miniature models to equip car interiors or even odor elimination systems for kitchen manufacturers.