Mark DiCarlo & Hélène Thibieroz
Mark and Hélène appear in the Top 100
Innovators & Entrepreneurs Magazine
Inventor & Founder
CEO & Co-Founder
Fractional Chief Technology Officer
Mark DiCarlo & Hélène Thibieroz
Environmental pollution kills more people every year than smoking, hunger, war, natural disasters, murder, AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. If that information seems shocking, Mark DiCarlo thought so, too. When his research uncovered this harsh truth, his first thought was, “No one should have to live like this.”
Instead of lamenting, Mark sprang into action and decided then and there to dedicate his life to solving the urgent issue of air pollution. Together with CEO Hélène Thibieroz, who brings more than 20 years of biomimicry and natural science solutions experience, he founded RainIons, an air pollution reduction and climate change prevention company that eliminates pollution and greenhouse gases from the air via a unique combination of negative ions, electrons, particles and water/precipitation. Mark has published three patents for eliminating pollution and greenhouse gases using biomimicry, which involves creating systems based on natural processes. Hélène’s experience includes hands-on expertise in energy, smart building, transportation, and waste management, and the creation of the We Grow Green Tech accelerator, which helps green companies with conscientious tech make real, lasting impacts. She uses her experience mentoring world-class accelerators and green startups to create models that are both effective and can be realistically scaled for business, all inspired by nature and at affordable rates so that their impact can be far-reaching.
RainIons is unique in that their technology addresses both carbon dioxide as well as other air pollutants, and works without external energy, and though just founded in 2019, the company already has two proven functional technologies for eliminating air pollution, which they will deploy later in the year. And they’ve already caught the interest of automotive, oil, and gas companies, as well as pollution reduction equipment manufacturers and government regulatory bodies.
We sat down with Mark and Hélène to learn more about how their innovations are helping to tackle air pollution, about what inspires them, and what some exciting new developments.
What inspired you two to pursue careers focused on the environment?
Mark: When I retired from the Air Force Security Forces, I missed the sense of purpose and helping people on a daily basis, so I started researching serious problems facing the world that I could dedicate my life to trying to solve. When I studied pollution, I was shocked at what I found, so I decided to throw myself into solving that through biomimicry.
Hélène: I have always been connected to the environment, from my childhood in a little village in France to my passion for swimming and the ocean. Like more and more of us, I couldn’t sit on the bench anymore just observing the tragic degradation of our beautiful planet.
Hélène, will you share a few of RainIon’s recent exciting developments?
We’ve entered a very exciting phase and are at an inflection point. We now have two working prototypes for our exhaust technology, with development and commercialization avenues in both energy and transportation spaces.
Mark, how does your unique technology work?
Air pollution’s toxicity derives from the chemical properties of the pollutant’s molecular composition. Our technology works at the molecular level to eliminate that toxicity. In this case, it’s a unique combination of negative ions, electrons, particles and water/precipitation. A feasibility study determined the patented innovation could reduce airborne pollutants by up to 99%, including particulate matter 2.5 and smaller, and CO2.
As Hélène mentioned, we’re currently developing two types of tech. The first can be incorporated into mufflers or tailpipes and HVAC and exhaust systems. We recently completed third-party validation testing and proved it can eliminate pollution, including carbon dioxide, from a diesel engine. Everyone focuses on CO2, but we focus on both CO2 and pollution. Our solution is so inexpensive, and you can apply it anywhere there’s pollution, without external energy driving it, and it will eliminate the pollution. We’re also developing a Direct Air Capture system that captures and transforms pollutants and CO2.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Mark: The thing I love about RainIons is my team. I’ve been very fortunate to be able to assemble a brilliant group of like-minded individuals who truly want to help other people. One of the things I enjoy most in the world is helping people.
Hélène: I see a CEO as a business architect, and I love being able to manage business components, people, and cultures, and execute quickly amid risks and unexpected events. Being an engineer at heart, I love being able to scale and executing technology and see the direct impact for our people and planet.