This has been jointly developed by researchers from Lovely Professional University (LPU Jalandhar) and IISER Mohali, which uses algae-based room air purifier.
Why algae? Algae conduct photosynthesis using sunshine, water and carbon dioxide and produce oxygen making the air more breathable.
“Though algae photosynthesise, but some release toxins. So, tests were conducted for their selection. Unlike the existing air purifiers in the market, we do not have any chemical component. Also, our prototype increases the levels of oxygen as well,” said Dr Sunil A Patil, assistant professor, IISER, Mohali.
The work on developing the prototype has been conducted by Anant Kumar Rajput and Deepak Deb, both BTech III-year students at LPU, and Ravineet Yadav, PhD scholar from IISER Mohali. They were guided by division of startup, LPU and Dr Sunil A Patil, assistant professor, IISER, Mohali.
How did the idea come up? The students got inspiration to build an algae-based air purifier from the ongoing space research to produce oxygen in space through algae.
“The team has developed a working prototype of the product and will start conducting trials very soon. A patent has been filed. The products, OX-C and its higher version OX- C 2.0 are expected to be commercialized by September 2020 and will cost about Rs 18,000 and Rs 25,000, respectively,” said Yadav.
The concept of algae-based purifier is well known, and many researchers are working on this, but none have got it into the market due to some challenges and designing.
“The growth of algae needs to be regulated according to the levels of the toxic gases. If the levels are high, the algae grows till a certain stage. It also cannot be allowed to form colonies. This has been designed by us,” said Yadav.
He said, “Now the next version is almost ready called OX-C 2.0. This will be cloud-based, and sensors will be fitted on to the purifier so that there is real-time air quality monitoring and the algae can be adjusted accordingly. We will later have notifications on using applications when the levels of pollutant gases rise.”
The researchers will conduct field trials for usage in schools and offices.