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PCB007-Aug2020

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32 PCB007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2020 Feature Interview by the I-Connect007 Editorial Team Jim Metropoulos, CEO and founder of Blue Box, talks about the innovative foam solution he developed to clean the coils of HVAC sys- tems in large facilities, ranging from casinos and manufacturing plants to some of the top hospitals in the country. Nolan Johnson: Jim, tell us about yourself, as well as Blue Box and what you're doing. Jim Metropoulos: Absolutely. The patented Blue Box enzyme treatment is an innovation I developed about five years ago. During this global pandemic, Blue Box has developed an additional treatment that kills airborne patho- gens, such as the coronavirus, trapped in a building's HVAC system. When I founded Blue Box, I like to say it was "accidental innovation" because I did not set out in the world to solve the great coil problem that no one else knew about. Blue Box was originally started to do chemical cleaning in re- fineries. The treatment system itself was very compact—the size of a suitcase back then— but I could fill a three-story house with foam. I would mix in hydrochloric acid or sodium hydroxide, and it was a way to do chemical cleaning in big industrial systems. I was looking for a way to clean big indus- trial systems to improve heat transfer efficiency and energy consumption. If you can improve ef- ficiency, the HVAC system will consume a lot less energy. It was a new model for carbon reduction. Then, I started to clean big industrial sys- tems using enzymes because, in industrial equipment, you form what's called biofouling in systems. Biofouling is when bacteria and fungus start growing, forming biofilms–a slime that starts forming on equipment. The problem is that biofilms are chemically resistant, so I pioneered a way to use enzymes that would di- gest it out. The virtue is there are no chemicals involved; it's pH-neutral and safe to handle. About five years ago, I toured a big auto plant with an engineer, looking at other systems, and we walked past an air handler. In auto plants, they use air handlers for controlling the air and humidity in paint-proofing operations, but they also have air handlers throughout the plant for air conditioning. I wasn't thinking about HVAC, but he asked, "Can you adapt your pro- cess to clean the coils in my air handlers?" My reply was, "Sure, how hard could that be?" Blue Box: Leading a Cleaning Revolution Jim Metropoulos

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