Published: 12th October 2019
Soot yourself: This Bengaluru student just made a device that can clear the soot in the air we breathe
Ashik S V's soot pollution control device that traps soot content from smoke will be soon installed in Kadirenahalli underpass in Bengaluru and his college will fund this project
While everyone is talking about climate change and reducing air pollution, Ashik S V, an Automobile Engineering student from Dayanand Sagar University, has gone one step ahead. He's already ideated a device that can control air pollution. Ashik says, "Once, during Science class, my teacher was talking about air pollution and how it has created a negative impact on the health of people. That really stuck with me. Then one day, I saw the school peon trying to start an old vehicle and it was releasing a lot of smoke. That's when I thought that I must develop some device to reduce the smoke produced by these vehicles."
Since then, Ashik has been investing time researching about the device that he can build. During this research, he found out that there are enough instruments to absorb and reduce the carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide in the atmosphere. Even modifications can be done to the vehicle's engine to ensure that it doesn't release smoke. But there was no device that could absorb the soot when smoke was released. Educating us on soot, Ashik says, "Soot is a solid suspended particle found in carbon and it is released because of the incomplete combustion of air. It is black in colour and is the reason why smoke also appears black. The size of the particle is too small, 1/20th of the diameter of a single human hair. Hence, it is very difficult to detect this soot content. It can be seen only when the soot particles are in great number."
Another fact that Ashik discovered, when he approached the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), was that in 2019, around 12,000 tonnes of soot particles are found in the air in Bengaluru alone. It is estimated that by 2030, this will increase up to 15,000 tonnes. Explaining how it affects health, Ashik says, "Four months ago, a lady in Delhi was diagnosed with fourth stage cancer and the medical institute said that soot is the main reason for this type of cancer. You will be surprised to learn that a research paper published by South California University has also stated that when they tested the tissues of a baby in the womb, they were able to trace soot content in its tissues. I feel it is alarming and dangerous. Soot particles also have a very unique character — it absorbs and releases heat in higher quantities. It is the second major contributor to global warming."
Solution to air pollution: Soot pollution control device that has been designed by Ashik S V (Pic: Ashik)
Soot Pollution Control Device
Before Ashik came up with the final design of his device, he had designed at least 35 devices but each had its own problems. Finally, during his graduation, he was mentored by Dr Naveen B E to build it successfully. Ashik, who has spent most of his time in college working on this device, says, "The soot pollution control fan has an inlet fan which absorbs the polluted gas inside the device. After the pressure of the polluted smoke is reduced, the smoke is passed through fluid thin films where soot particles are separated from the smoke. The films will separate the soot particles from smoke by absorbing the particles. These soot particles and the thin film fluid mixture is then passed through a soot collecting chamber. In this chamber, the soot particles will be separated from the fluid by a filter. The collected soot is then removed from the device. There is machinery already that absorbs the particles and burns them. But what is the point when it again leads to pollution? Therefore in our device, the soot that gets collected can be used to manufacture ink, in printing shirts and for a few other purposes."
With the college's support and funding, Ashik will soon be installing this device in the Kadirenahalli underpass in Bengaluru. "Most of the work has already been completed and I have submitted the device to the college. We are hoping to install it in a month's time and we're expecting positive results," says Ashik. While the actual device is huge in size, this one can also be built as per the requirement of the client. The cost of the bigger device is `20,000 and Ashik has been getting calls from various industries to install a few in their premises.
Ashik, along with his eight-membered group who are from different departments, have formed their own start-up — Panjurli Labs. Currently, they are working on adapting the device so that it can be installed in houses to absorb the dust, harmful air pollutants and release fresh air.