Neoplants: Revolutionizing Futuristic Houseplants
Introducing NEO P1: Bioengineered for Better Indoor Air Quality
While we all adore our indoor plants, have you heard about a houseplant that claims to outperform leading indoor plants by up to 30 times in capturing volatile organic compounds (VOCs)? The founders of Neoplants, a Paris-based startup, say their NEO P1 plant can convert indoor air pollutants into essential plant elements, offering an eco-friendly and inventive solution to enhance indoor air quality.
So, could this genetically modified houseplant be the future of indoor plants as Neoplants claims on its website? HVAC.com recently interviewed Patrick Torbey, co-founder and CTO of Neoplants, to delve into the science behind this innovation and the company’s marquee genetically modified plant, NEO P1.
The Science Behind the NEO P1
While the idea behind genetically modified organisms isn’t new, applying the science to houseplants is, said Torbey, who added the NEO P1 is marketed for bedrooms only and is not a whole-house solution.
Enhancing the Pothos, also known as Epipremnum Aureum (and the core plant in the NEO P1), the NEO P1 excels at capturing the most dangerous VOCs found in homes: formaldehyde (HCHO), benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX).
However, as Torbey explained, what sets the NEO P1 Pothos plant apart from regular houseplants is its treatment of the VOCs once they’ve been captured. Neoplants introduced specific genes to enable it to convert pollutants into essential plant components, including water, sugars, amino acids, and oxygen.
Neoplants carefully selected and optimized two bacteria living in and around the plant capable of metabolizing formaldehyde and BTEX as food, supercharging its air purification capacity. This pioneering metabolism engineering converts formaldehyde into fructose, serving as the plant’s food source, and transforms BTEX into amino acids essential for protein production, effectively turning every cell of the plant into an organic air purifier.
These bacteria were further optimized through artificial intelligence, resulting in “Power Drops.” Injecting Neo P1’s root system with these specialized strains creates a symbiotic relationship between the plant and bacteria, effectively cleansing the indoor air of VOCs.
Torbey said Neoplants engineered the houseplants to reverse the damage done to the environment by machines.
“We need to put nature back at the heart of technological development,” Torbey said. “We see bioengineering as a way of empowering nature to evolve alongside human technology. The more we uncover the code of the living organisms around us, the more we are amazed at its elegance and complexity.”
A Unique Vision for Neoplants
Torbey’s vision for co-founding Neoplants five years ago with CEO Lionel Mora was rooted in finding an eco-friendly alternative to revolutionizing indoor air quality in homes across the world. Indoor air quality is often 5 times more polluted than outdoor air, where individuals spend 90% of their time.
Although the Neoplants’ NEO P1 plant’s effectiveness is determined based on a home’s unique characteristics and your lifestyle, Neoplants claims it’s 10-30 times more effective at eliminating VOCs in bedrooms than typical plants, and potentially more effective than mechanical air purifiers.
Although the NEO P1 Neoplant hasn’t been released, demand for the bioengineered plant is soaring. More than 40,000 people in the United States are on the waitlist to receive a NEO P1 plant. So how much is the NEO P1 Plant? It’s priced starting at $179. If you join the waitlist today, the estimated delivery date is August 2024.
However, not everyone is sold on the idea of a genetically modified houseplant. Some users on Reddit question its effectiveness and the number of plants required to purify an entire home, while others are excited about the innovative concept. After extensive testing, Neoplants’ team of 20 scientists is confident in the NEO P1’s air-purifying capabilities.
“We wanted to show people that we can actually create a positive influence on the world,” Torbey said. “Our plants provide a powerful function by cleaning the air better and more efficiently than regular plants. Our team is committed to building a green and vibrant future here on earth, where plants are upgraded as frequently as our phones, where people can see and feel the benefits of nature as clearly as any piece of technology.”
Specifics About Neoplants' NEO P1
Torbey explained that the NEO P1 is an easy-to-maintain plant designed for bedrooms. It purifies the air within a 150-square-foot space and requires minimal maintenance, needing water every two weeks in the summer and every three weeks in the winter. Power Drops, which optimize air purification, are required once a month.
The NEO P1 comes with “The Shell,” a state-of-the-art planter that enhances airflow and ensures optimal contact between pollutants and the plant.
Whether NEO P1 will revolutionize the world of houseplants is yet to be determined. But one thing is certain: “Nobody is selling anything remotely like this,” Torbey said.