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The Industrial HEPA Air Cleaner built by Madrigal Electromotive GmbH was used to filter the chemicals from the air coming from the meth lab in Breaking Bad.

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It was obviously not a common item for a laundry, this can be surmised from the following facts:

  • Gus went to considerable efforts in hiding its acquisition. E.G. Getting Gale to order it and having it 'disappear' from Madrigal's possession to his own. If it was a common item for that type of business, there would really be no point in concealing the acquisition or possession of it.
  • It cost $300,000 commercially. It would have been more expensive, if anything, to obtain surreptitiously (so add at least ..50%?).
  • Hank realized the significance of it, and associated it with a possible meth lab.

So if seeing it 'sitting around' at a laundry might cause suspicion (e.g. by Steve Gomez and the guy with the sniffer dog when they visited the premises), why not install it directly inside the meth lab where all the secret equipment was kept?

I'm thinking that hung from brackets on the roof, it could have taken the ducting in from the vats, then discharged out of the lab (now with clean air) into the usual venting/filtration system of the laundry.

BTW - judging from the size of the ducts seen in the brochure (and presuming that was the same basic size of duct that people were often connecting to the top of chemical tanks) it must have been 2 meters long, by 1 meter deep by a meter tall (OK - for those that think of lengths in the imperial system, approx. 6 feet x 3 feet x 3 feet). It was a sizable unit. The lab certainly had room for it (v. high ceiling) and it would have been tricky to conceal outside the lab.

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    Maybe it was too heavy to hang it on the ceiling? Anyway, I suspect you give this far more technical thought than the writers probably did. – magnattic Jul 28 '14 at 17:33
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    May have been a hazard considering the fumes. If that thing kicks on (I assume it's using 110v or 220v) it will cause a spark (because it isn't intrinsically safe) which would cause an explosion. – DustinDavis Jul 28 '14 at 22:48
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    @DustinDavis Ah.. good point. A little research indicates you must even be careful as to what type of electric motor goes into an environment with combustible gases. The HEPA Air Filter probably would not have been designed for operation within such an environment, so it probably would not be safe to use inside the lab. Can you promote your comment to an answer? – Andrew Thompson Jul 29 '14 at 5:30
  • @atticae Meh.. maybe. But then, it could also go on a shelf on a tall stand or.. I think DustinDavis has pointed to a more compelling reason. Thanks for putting thought to it. :) – Andrew Thompson Jul 29 '14 at 5:32
  • @DustinDavis BTW - I was focusing on the electric motor simply for the reason that if switching it on/off might cause a spark, the solution might be to turn it on before they start, and off after they complete a batch and are waiting for the crystal to form. But the specialized electric motor kills that idea. – Andrew Thompson Jul 29 '14 at 5:48
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@DustinDavis May have been a hazard considering the fumes. If that thing kicks on (I assume it's using 110v or 220v) ..

There is also 415 volt 3 phase which is common (in Australia at least) for industrial equipment.

..it will cause a spark (because it isn't intrinsically safe) which would cause an explosion.

A little research from this Hazardous Area Electric Motor Paper indicates you must even be careful as to what type of electric motor goes into an environment with combustible gases. The HEPA Air Filter probably would not have been designed for operation within such an environment, so it probably would not be safe to use inside the lab.

(I was focusing on the electric motor simply for the reason that if switching it on/off might cause a spark, the solution might be to turn it on before they start, and off after they complete a batch and are waiting for the crystal to form. But the specialized electric motor kills that idea.)

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