This algae-based air purifier neutralises 98 percent of harmful gases and ups oxygen content
According to reports, seven of the 10 most polluted cities in the world are in India, with Gurugram topping the list, followed by Ghaziabad. This alarming situation has seen the government taking certain steps in form of providing better green cover, eradicating air pollution by electrifying the railways, which is in progress, and other measures.
The initiatives include certain solutions that must be implemented to make a difference. Enter an algae-based air purifier, which has been developed by Lovely Professional University, Punjab, and Indian Institute of Science and Education and Research (IISER), Mohali.
The air purifier is capable of not only neutralising 98 percent of harmful gases and particulate matter in the air, but will also increase the amount of oxygen, making the indoors more breathable. How does it work? The microbes in algae conduct photosynthesis and - using sunshine, water and carbon dioxide - can produce oxygen.
Naveen Luthra, Head - Division of Startup at Lovely Professional University, said,
“Several air purifiers are available in the market, but they all work on the same principle: filtering out pollutants with carbon and HEPA filters. Our students' initiative uses an alternative method. The product is on way to commercialisation; it will be a proud moment when this purifier hits the market.”
Unlike conventional air purifiers in the market, the device uses an in-built container filled with marine algae. This decontaminates indoor air and effectively removes toxic industrial gases like carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and sulphur oxides, with a success rate of over 98 percent and further infuses oxygen into the filtered air.
It produces biomass as a byproduct. This can be sold to industries like bio development products, FMCG, and pharmaceuticals at Rs 800 per kilogram to produce energy.
The team drew inspiration from ongoing space research to produce oxygen in space through algae. A working prototype of the product has already been developed and successful trials have been conducted.
A patent has been filed, and discussions are on with industry experts for commercial use. The product, OX- C, and an upgraded version, OX- C 2.0, are expected to be launched by September 2020. They will be priced at around Rs 18,000 and Rs 25,000, respectively.
The team is now working on algae-based face masks, which it hopes to develop by mid-2020.
The research was conducted by Anant Kumar Rajput and Deepak Deb, both BTech third year students at LPU, and Ravneet Yadav, PhD scholar from IISER Mohali. They were guided by Naveen Luthra; Dr Jastin, Assistant Professor in Microbiology, Division of Research and Development, Lovely Professional University; and Dr A Sunila Patil, Assistant Professor, IISER Mohali.
(Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan)