Church doors can be opened completely again with ionization. However?

Since its installation last year, the Reformed Municipality of Rijssen-west has had positive experiences with the ionization system of Suwotec from Enter. but the church still can't open all the way. where is the problem?

William van der Schee, a member of the congregation, had developed the church's ventilation system. He offered to install his ionization system in it, Elder K. H. de Heer tells over the phone. “The ionization system has been tested in every nook and cranny of the church. Suppose an infected person enters. Then the virus particles in the aerosols he spews out are killed within five to ten seconds. The people in the church are silent. There are no movements. That is why it is almost impossible for anyone to become infected in the church.”

The experiences with ionization in Nunspeet are also positive, says Rev. Schot in the vestry. “The installation went well. And the ions spread throughout the building, even on the gallery. That was good news for us.”
Koster M. Emens van Nunspeet points out that three sensors in the church continuously measure how much dust is floating in the air, how much ozone is created and how many ions the air contains. He takes out his smartphone and shows the backlog. “On this I see all the measurement data from every moment of the day. The ozone level remains well below the standard.”

The churchgoers see nothing of the ions, but they do notice it, Elder H. Wobben knows. “When the sun shines in the church, you no longer see a path of dust particles. People with asthmatic complaints and lung problems say: We can breathe more deeply.”

The consistory cannot judge whether the system disables the viruses, acknowledges Rev. Schot. “We have deposited several tens of thousands of euros for it. We have confidence in Van der Schee's scientific reports. In the church we work with a principle from creation: artificial mountain air that is rich in ions. Look, I like that.”
Elder De Heer from Rijssen-West is also positive about ionization. “It works perfectly. The official authorities say: With this system you can receive more people in the church in a safe way. Representatives from RIVM, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the security region visited us. They were also very positive. But the difficulty is, which agency of the government has the authority to sign the acceptance so that more visitors can come together?”
Ionisation has also been installed in sports hall De Stroekeld in Rijssen. That has worked out positively. An additional advantage is that SuWoTec's ionization system won the "Innovation Competition Sport & Covid-19" last year. The Lord: “Now that the sports world is involved, the churches may be able to piggyback on the secular world. He may have more influence and can exert more pressure.”

SuWoTec is carrying out tests under the Field Labs flag, Van der Schee says. The Ministry of Economic Affairs, RIVM, GGDs, Sport Innovator and various universities are involved in these tests. Football associations UEFA and FIFA are also watching.

In lobbying the official bodies, the Reformed municipality of Rijssen-West joins forces with those in Nunspeet. The request to investigate ionization in practice has been submitted to national politics, the Senate and the House of Representatives fractions of the SGP. A motion to that effect was recently passed almost unanimously by the House of Representatives.

The Reformed municipality of Nunspeet has also contacted the mayor. “It is right that they have knocked on my door,” explains mayor Breunis van de Weerd van Nunspeet in his office. “The mayor has a prominent role in corona legislation.”

The Covid legislation

Yet he had to disappoint the Reformed congregation. “The Covid legislation does not allow exceptions to the one and a half meter rule. If they want to continue with this, they have to knock on the door of the national government. This offers scope for carrying out pilots. I proposed the ionization technology to the security region as a solution for buildings where large groups of people come together, such as sports halls, theatres, churches and schools. Because the importance of ionization is broader than just for churches, you can make a fist. Then there is a chance that tests will be conducted that will eventually lead to rules for buildings.” A request from the security regions has now been submitted to Minister De Jonge of Public Health.
RIVM or TNO will have to conduct research into ionization. Unfortunately, the RIVM has focused on vaccination," notes Rev. Schot. "Ionization is not in the picture."

Nevertheless, the RIVM did research into ionization systems in 2010. After that it remained very quiet. "There is no scientific evidence that ionizers in public places or at home prevent or reduce the transmission of the coronavirus," RIVM states on its website.

When asked, Geert Westerhuis of RIVM states that the effect of ionizers on the larger droplets is not certain. “We get that question often. Within 1.5 meters you do not prevent the transfer of virus particles with ionization. We do not advise against ionization, because it may have added value.”

Definitely no hocus pocus

Aad van der Starre of Freshlight from Deventer has been developing and installing ionization systems for fifteen years. Especially in poultry farming. Now they have also been used in churches for the first time. In the church hall of the restored, reformed Victor Church in Apeldoorn, he posits the proposition that ionization can be a means to fully occupy the pews again.

Last year Freshlight from Deventer introduced the Pure Induct together with Brink Climate Systems. This concerned an air filter with ionization that blows almost sterile air into a room. Then Van der Starre said: “The next step could be to build in the ionization filter system in the air recirculation. With that, we can disable viruses indoors.”

Has that moment now arrived?

Van der Starre: “I think so.”

It is a fact that ionization works. In chicken houses, ionization results in drastic fine dust and ammonia reduction. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland) set Freshlight's ionization lamps as the standard for poultry farming. In addition, negatively charged particles effectively target pathogens.

As a test, he had applied ionization in the former Eben-Haëzer Church of the Reformed congregation in the Netherlands in Apeldoorn. This building was also temporarily used by the restored reformed municipality. “That church building had a major ventilation problem. After the installation of the ionization system, there was hardly any coughing during the sermon, noticed the local reformed former pastor, Dr. R. van Kooten. Since then, Rev. Van Kooten has been my best ambassador,” says Van der Starre.

An ionization system has also been installed in the Victor Church, which the restored reformed municipality subsequently moved into. As well as in the restored reformed Maranatha Church in Woudenberg. “It works there to our full satisfaction,” says Van der Starre. "We are currently discussing this with the Reformed congregation in Hedel, a synagogue in Amstelveen, the ecomenic Drie Rankenkerk in Apeldoorn and the Reformed congregation in the Netherlands in Rhenen."

Last year Freshlight from Deventer introduced the Pure Induct together with Brink Climate Systems. This concerned an air filter with ionization that blows almost sterile air into a room. Then Van der Starre said: “The next step could be to build in the ionization filter system in the air recirculation. With that, we can disable viruses indoors.”

Can ionization also be a solution for churches?

Bertus Verbeek, director of supplier Vekostar from Woudenberg, who also joined the Victor Church, expects so. “If ionization from our producer Freshlight helps against pathogens in poultry houses, you can expect the same in the church.”

The safety of the ionization system is fine, according to scientific reports. Many ionization systems cause the formation of ozone in the air. Too much ozone in the air is dangerous for the lungs. Freshlight ionizers use carbon brushes instead of metal pins or spheres. As a result, no ozone is created in the air, TNO previously noted.

After all, what matters is that people understand how ionization works, continues Van der Starre. “If you don't understand, it's like hocus pocus. But it certainly isn't. That's why I'd rather people understand than believe me on my blue eyes."

The principle with which negative ions make viruses harmless is well known. He distinguishes three types of suspended particles in the air: solid particulate matter, aerosols (fine liquid droplets) and so-called airborns: fine floating droplets in the air.

Particulate matter and aerosols cluster through ionization into larger particles that subsequently end up on the ground. "Those are the carriers of viruses." But the most dangerous are airborns. “Floating droplets that end up directly in your lungs when inhaled. These can each contain five virus particles, which multiply 100,000 times per second in the lungs. The body's response to this causes lung emphysema, after which Covid-19 patients can suffocate in their own fluid," explains Van der Starre.

“The air that is rich in airborns is in the church at the height at which people breathe in and out,” adds Verbeek. “It is therefore important that we tackle the viruses ourselves. So does ionization.”


“We know from research that negative particles in the air can neutralize 97 percent of viruses.” The problem is that we cannot easily measure how effective ionization is against viruses. This was also apparent from the same Swedish study.”

Van der Starre quotes from the paper: “To date, there is no simple, verified technology that can capture and identify viruses from the air.” But the content of negative ions in the air is easily measurable, Verbeek knows. “We carry out those measurements, and we manage them accordingly. Because it is scientifically substantiated that where the ions are, they disable the viruses.”

What does ionization do?

Two systems are currently being installed in churches: that of Vekostar and that of SuWoTec. They not only allow swirling dust to cluster, but also tackle pollen, harmful substances, odors, bacteria, viruses and mold spores.

Vekostar's ionization system works as follows: carbon brushes launch millions of electrons per second. The electrons react with water in the air. This is followed by a series of chemical reactions, in which hydrogen peroxide is formed. This kills germs and makes odors and other chemicals in the air disappear. Usually these are converted into water and carbon dioxide. Hydrogen peroxide also kills coronaviruses.

Also, hydrogen peroxide reacts with oxygen in the air, forming negatively charged hydroxide ions. The higher the concentration of hydroxide ions in the air, the faster the pathogens are rendered harmless.

ion tubes

SuWoTec's CATS system from Enter works differently. Installed ion tubes launch a balanced amount of negatively and positively charged oxygen ions. “That is taken from nature. Normally, positively and negatively charged ions neutralize each other, but in the mountains certain infrared frequencies of sunlight ensure that this does not happen,” explains William van der Schee of SuWoTec. He is a member of the Reformed municipality of Rijssen-West. In his system, he uses the same frequencies from the infrared spectrum as the so-called bipolar carrier wave to be able to move the ions through the interior space.

In contact with the coronavirus, positively charged spikes attract the negatively charged oxygen ions, and the negatively charged virus particles attract the positively charged oxygen ions. “They make a short circuit, as it were, and pluck a hydrogen atom from the virus. That breaks it.”

In the free air, the ions only reach where they can flow freely, continues Van der Schee. “With the carrier wave, we can fill the entire space with ions.”


Recent Italian research shows that ionizers effectively disinfect the air. Hospitals such as Johns Hopkins, Children's Hospital Boston and the University of Maryland Medical Center have also successfully applied air ionization.

Negative ions themselves neutralize many pathogenic bacteria and virus types in the air, according to Swedish research. Negatively charged ions damage the so-called spikes, the protruding proteins on the surface with which the coronaviruses penetrate cells. Damaged spikes make it impossible for a virus to infect humans.