Dhruv Suri, an aeronautical engineering student from Manipal Institute of Technology, had dreamt of building a billboard that could purify the air we breathe from the time he was in class 10. Four years later, along with Rahil Nayak, his classmate from the aeronautical engineering stream, and Priyanshi Somani from computer science, he has managed to turn the idea into reality. The three students, in their third year of engineering at Manipal University, have spent 14 months on the project.
The team of three came up with a 4x3 feet prototype which fetched them first prize at the Manipal Innovation Challenge. Speaking with Bangalore Mirror, Dhruv said,
"We have seen the large advertising billboards almost everywhere around us. We fit an air purifier that is called a carbon dioxide scrubber inside a billboard. On one side of the board, air is drawn in through a large fan and we use sodium hydroxide, a chemical that has the ability to absorb carbon dioxide, and clean air is then let out the other side. The best part of the technology is that the carbon dioxide that is caught is pressurised and made into pellets. These pellets would be sold to green houses that use carbon dioxide. There is a lot of mechanical engineering and thermodynamics involved behind the reaction as we have to make sure that sodium hydroxide does not get out into the air."
Since he is a student of aeronautical engineering, Dhruv has been working extensively on renewable energy, its sources, and wind power. Having read an article about Japan's bus stops also serving as air purifiers and keeping the Delhi scenario in mind, Dhruv resolved to push out the final prototype.