While studying engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the US, Angad Daryani designed a device that captures the pollution from the air so we can turn it into something else.
Today, his startup Praan aims to build affordable and versatile outdoor air purifiers that can fit into the existing infrastructure (e.g. street lamps).
The innovation sucks the polluting particles out of the air and collects them in a container. However, Angad’s design does not use filters, like in household air purifiers. Indeed, people would have to replace these filters every day in cities as polluted as Indian megapolis. On the other hand, Praan’s filterless purifier can operate for several months before requiring maintenance.
This technology filters around nine cubic metres of air per minute and stores 11,540 cubic centimetres of pollutants. And, Praan gives the collected carbon to Carbon Craft Design, another Indian company that uses the pollutants as pigment to create stylish decorative flooring tiles for restaurants, shops, and hotels.
Why does it matter? India is home to 22 of the world's 30 most polluted cities, and its toxic air kills more than one million people each year. Moreover, black carbon can absorb one million times more energy from the sun than carbon dioxide, contributing to global warming. Also, studies suggest that a PM2.5 increase of just one microgram per cubic metre corresponds to a 15% increase in Covid-19 deaths.
Now more than ever, tackling air pollution in cities is crucial. Moving forward, Angad aims to make his purifier more affordable to help as many people as possible.