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Retired UAlbany scientist fighting COVID with new HVAC tech – Times Union


ALBANY – Want to make your house safer during the pandemic while saving a lot of money on your air conditioning and heating bills?

Former University at Albany scientist Pradeep Haldar has a solution for you.

Haldar, who retired from UAlbany in 2018 and is now president of a company called Halovation, is partnering with two Mohawk Valley companies to bring a new photonics-based air filtration motor technology to market that promises to significantly upgrade air conditioning.

Photonic devices use light instead of electrons from electricity to run devices, making them much more efficient.

The upgrades will not only help potentially filter out viruses like the coronavirus when combined with upgraded filters in homes, schools, businesses and hotels, but also reduce energy costs by 40 percent.

The technology, known as an adaptive photonic controller, operates the motor of the AC or heating system at variable speeds in order to “match the required energy of a heating or cooling system,” Haldar said.

“Adding higher efficiency filters to a traditional HVAC (i.e. a heating, ventilation or air conditioning) system can overwhelm the motors, causing them to malfunction,” Haldar added. “It works with existing HVAC systems to easily enable an upgrade to better filters with an increased ability to capture air particles like dust, allergens, microbes and viruses the size of COVID-19 (the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus). It’s a game-changer.”

Haldar’s company, which he operates in both the Capital Region and from Florida, is working with two local companies that have developed and will manufacture the devices. They are Custom Electronics of Oneonta and Opto Generic Devices of Van Hornesville in Herkimer County. The product will officially be brought to market through a Custom Electronics division based in Albany called Aclectic. Optic Generic Devices developed the technology, which has already been tested in hotels, museums and apartment buildings across upstate before being brought to market.

The motor controllers also have another benefit.

“When you stay at a hotel and you’re awakened in the middle of night by the loud noise of a motor turning on and off and a draft of either hot or cold air blowing out of the vent — that’s the type of HVAC system that is available with fixed speed motors in most residential and commercial buildings,” said Art Durham, president of OGD and the inventor of the technology. “Our compact, easy-to-install controller functions more efficiently.”



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