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Oct. 12, 2020 (Courtesy of the Jacksonville Business Journal)

A Jacksonville startup has applied for a patent for an HVAC monitoring system that sanitizes the air while ventilating it.

Polar Controller’s system created a monitoring system for HVAC and cooling equipment using artificial intelligence. Devices typically only monitor temperature, but Polar Controller can gather data on temperature, pressure and power — enabling a more intelligent diagnosis of problems and providing users with more control over their systems.

That control has become increasingly important as the nature of Covid-19’s spread relies on respiratory contact.

“Covid is being spread heavily in the indoor air space and a contributing factor is indoor airspace management,” said Freddie Zeringue, president of Polar Controller.

The company recently applied for a patent for the system that would both ventilate areas in need of new air and sanitize everything daily.

He said that even if patrons are spaced out within an area, if a vent is blowing directly above somebody who has the virus, that air will be circulated to the rest of the room. That means that even if two people were 40 feet away from one another, one could still contract the virus from the other.

Polar Controller’s technology allows businesses to have more autonomy over their airspace, which would help to mitigate the spread of the virus within an indoor space. Their technology controls the pressures and flush the space with fresh air to curb the movement of particles from one area to another.

The company’s patent is pending, but Zeringue said that they’ve already received a lot of interest from several companies and three different counties. The company that handled the HVAC system for Jacksonville International Airport has been discussing the new system with Polar Controller.

They’ve even gotten interest from larger companies on mergers and acquisitions, something that they aren’t overtly interested in — but Zeringue said they’ll consider what they need to in order to get their product out to those who need it.

The monitoring system that is the heart of what Polar Controller does has also been put to new use. For example, Kaleb Zeringue, CEO of Polar Controller, said that they’ve also been able to notify customers that they were cooling their spaces without actually being in them, which helps to save those businesses money, as well.

Kaleb got the idea for the new system — that would kill pathogen in the air, in addition to ventilating the area — when he thought of his kids returning to school.

Their customers range in all different commercial spaces and they plan to expand nationally. The company already has customers as far as Miami, but they have also received interest from a group out of Barbados, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.

However, they have experienced a slow down in sales because of the pandemic. It’s hard for people to make new commitments with so much uncertainty, but Zeringue said that people have expressed even greater appreciation for their product during this time.

Polar Controller has received investment from Seedfunders, a St. Petersburg investment firm that invested in 2019. Dave Chistester, founder of the firm, said that Polar Controller was one of their most popular investment opportunities. Jacksonville may receive another Seedfunders office, depending on whether enough opportunities exist in the city.

Zeringue said that they were also gearing up for another round of funding as the Covid-19 pandemic hit, so it has slowed down their ability to raise new funds as well. Despite that, the Zeringues have their eyes set on growth, fueled by the development of new sensors and a possible joint venture with another company.

In the meantime, instead of focusing on sales, they are focusing on building a network to leverage installations nationally.

“We’re going and building a refrigeration network of people who will promote, support, sell and service all of this equipment,” Zeringue said.