IIT Kanpur researchers develop air filters to convert ACs into air purifiers


Kanpur, November 17, 2022: A team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, has developed a novel technology to turn ACs into affordable air purifiers. The one-of-a-kind technology is conceptualized and developed with the infrastructural as well as R and D support from IIT Kanpur, as the team of researchers found a way to turn regular ACs into air purifiers, during the winter season.

With smog and pollution posing grave concerns across several cities especially during the winter, this invention is expected to be a boon for many. The innovation comes in line with IIT Kanpur’s relentless work in the domain of air quality assessment and monitoring. IIT Kanpur has been involved in assisting various state governments and organizations in deploying technologies to combat air pollution. This technology comes as a simplistic handy tool, which can be easily mounted atop regular ACs and utilized by switching on ‘fan mode’.

The air filters are equipped with the “Anti-Microbial Air Purification Technology” developed at IIT Kanpur, in collaboration with researchers from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. It has been tested at NABL Accredited Lab and has proven to be able to successfully deactivate SARS-CoV-2 (delta variant) with an efficiency of 99.24%.

Commenting on the development of this novel technology, Prof. Ankush Sharma, Professor-in-charge, Innovation and Incubation, IIT Kanpur, said, “The novel air purification technology used in these air filters has successfully proven its efficiency towards protecting us from life-threatening viruses. This innovation is a great addition to the R&D work IIT Kanpur is involved in.”

Co-Professor-in-charge, Innovation and Incubation, IIT Kanpur, Prof. Amitabha Bandyopadhyay, said, “This indigenous revolutionary innovation has tremendous potential to succeed in the global market. This launch is indicative of technology catering to critical world problems. I wish the team involved all the best with this new product.”

The existing air filters in the market work on a particle capture mechanism; however, over continuous use, the filter itself becomes a breeding ground for germs, like a petri dish. The minimum cost of such air purifiers in the market is around INR 10,000/- which usually comes with a fan and an air filter to clean the air. On the other hand, this new type of air filters developed at IIT Kanpur has proven to restrict the microbial growth and is capable of capturing PM 2.5, PM 10, dust, pollen, allergens and germs from the air while purifying.

The innovation has been licensed to AiRTH, a startup incubated at the Startup Incubation and Innovation Centre, IIT Kanpur, for marketing. It has been launched in the form of a product as ‘Clean Air Module’ and comes at an affordable price of Rs. 2000. One ‘Clean Air Module’ is claimed to be as effective as 10 normal AC filters. The product is now available for purchase through AiRTH’s website and other e-commerce sites.

A statement from the AiRTH team reads, “In our struggle to make clean air accessible, we are proud that we finally have a product that is effective and can be adopted by the masses”.

AiRTH is founded by Ravi Kaushik, an IIT Bombay alumnus, who is currently the CEO of the company. AiRTH was incubated at IIT Kanpur in 2020 with guidance and support from Prof. Amitabha Bandopadhyay, the then Professor-in-charge of the Startup Incubation and Innovation Centre, IIT Kanpur. A novel Anti-Microbial Air Purification technology developed by researchers from IIT Kanpur and Prof. Suryasarathi Bose and Prof. Kaushik Chatterjee from IISc Bangalore, has been used in AiRTH’s flagship product