This Technology Could Zap Unpleasant Odors From Aircraft Cabins

Leading aviation product manufacturer Panasonic Aerospace has come up with an innovative solution to the age-old problem of bad smells. Its Nanoe technology has been tried and tested in the beauty market, as well as in automotive settings. Now, it is set to debut in premium aircraft cabins, and could spell the end to nasty niffs onboard.

Panasonic Nanoe
Panasonic wants to eliminate nasty odors in the cabin for everyone’s benefit. Photo: Panasonic

What’s that smell?

There’s nothing worse than being trapped in a small space with a bad smell. In the aircraft cabin, the scent of an egg sandwich someone brought with them, the waft of sweaty feet as the guy in front relieves himself of his shoes, or any of the other nasty niffs onboard can turn our dream flight into a living nightmare.

Being cooped up in a small space with something, or someone, that doesn’t smell too great is not a pleasant prospect. At home, we use plug-in or spray air fresheners to neutralize nasty odors; why shouldn’t aircraft be able to similarly banish bad smells like this?

Panasonic Aero believes they should, and has developed a solution that is set to change the onboard atmosphere. As part of its suite of Wellness products, Panasonic has introduced a technology it calls ‘Nanoe’ – an air cleanser that eliminates odors, and effectively tackles bacteria too.

Panasonic Nanoe
Nanoe uses minuscule water particles to trap and suppress odors. Photo: Panasonic

How does it work?

The inspiration for Nanoe came not from aviation, but from Panasonic’s health and beauty division. The technology has been utilized for years in Panasonic hair dryers, irons, facial steamers, air conditioners and humidifiers, but has recently started making its way into the transport sector too.

Panasonic Nanoe
Nanoe was first developed for the health and beauty section. Photo: Panasonic

The technology uses tiny, non-toxic, electrostatic charged particles of water, known as nanoparticles. These tiny particles, around 15,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, are capable of encapsulating bad odors and suppressing them. Panasonic likens them to the technology seen in modern air fresheners like Febreze.

The tiny particles are capable of penetrating passengers’ clothing as well as the fabrics used in passenger seating. The idea to use this on aircraft came after its automotive division saw great success in the car market, with their Onboard Nanoe Generator.

Panasonic Nanoe
The onboard Nanoe generator successfully eliminated odors and bacteria. Photo: Panasonic

In-car testing showed that the technology can eliminate 99% of bacteria and the majority of odors within 20 – 30 minutes of use. Panasonic said,

“…when we started to see its potential applications on the automotive front, we decided that bringing nanoe™ into the airplane cabin was not only possible, but essential to offering passengers an optimal wellness experience.”

The product is being positioned as part of a suite of wellness solutions that include noise-canceling seats, active surfaces to reduce contamination and premium seat lighting for in-flight light therapy.

Panasonic Nanoe
Applying the same principle to aircraft cabins could see a more pleasant and hygienic passenger experience. Photo: Panasonic

Flying soon

Panasonic is confident that the Nanoe product will soon begin appearing in aircraft cabins. The technology leverages existing Panasonic air filtration technology, with small, easily embeddable modules that can be added to cabins, lavatories, galleys and more.

The concept is set to debut in first and business class cabins, but Panasonic remains confident that it will make its way into more areas of the plane as time goes on. The company believes that, along with its other wellness products, Nanoe will engineer a better passenger experience for all.

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