Nature-based Solution to India’s Air Pollution

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When two of the three co-founders of uBreathe fell ill because of breathing bad air, they decided to launch an affordable, nature-based solution to fight India’s mammoth air pollution problem. They set up uBreathe, a biotech startup in 2019 to develop plant-based air purifiers. Incubated at IIT Ropar, uBreathe provides sustainable and green solutions for cleaner and fresher air while tackling a larger spectrum of air pollutants.

uBreathe’s approach to air purification sets it apart from conventional systems, as it utilizes only bio-filtration techniques. This not only results in no recurring need for filter replacements but also provides a sustainable solution with zero carbon footprint. uBreathe uses its patent-pending ‘Breathing roots’ technology to boost a plant’s natural process of removing pollutants from the air with improved soil breathability. With more than 500 times more purification capability than normal plants,  uBreathe  provides a green alternative to traditional mechanical purifiers.

The problem – Indoor air pollution can be 5 times more harmful than outside pollution. Currently available mechanical filters can only filter dust pollution, are expensive and highly toxic to the environment.

A United Nations study reveals that indoor air pollution can contribute 22%-52% to overall pollution levels and can be 5 times worse than outdoor air pollution. Indoor air pollution is not limited to just dust particles but also includes toxic gaseous and biological pollutants. At uBreathe, we believe that only technological innovations can help us in abating the rising air pollution issues. But, to solve this problem, urban buildings are adopting highly non-sustainable mechanical air purification systems. Firstly, these mechanical purifiers do not cater to all the

indoor air contamination and secondly it is highly challenging to bio-degrade these filters, resulting in a high carbon footprint.

Unique Technology

Nature-based solutions (NBS) that directly capture air contaminants  and  can demonstrate  a  pathway  to  a  sustainable  operating  model.

Research findings from NASA in the 1980s, as well as studies at Harvard and the National Research Council of Italy, have demonstrated that plants can effectively mitigate indoor air pollution naturally and sustainably. Understanding the physiological processes and mechanisms involved in phytoremediation, uBreathe combines three critical elements – Technology, Design and Nature to build a natural plant-based air purifier. The price of the machines ranges from close to Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 2 lakhs.

uBreathe purifies the air from all contaminants like suspended particulate matter and other toxic gasses categorized as TVOCs. UBreathe’s unique purifiers combine the natural air purifying capabilities of plants with modern technology. Its proprietary design boosts a plant’s natural process of removing pollutants from the air with improved soil breathability. Unlike mechanical purifiers that filter only dust pollution and are highly toxic to the environment, their solution captures all the contaminants in the air.

Their product is tested & certified by NABL Labs and has been reviewed & recommended by faculty of AIIMS Delhi. uBreathe are for homes, offices, schools, and large establishments

Since its inception, uBreathe has added 8500+ users who now have uBreathe in their homes and offices. More recently, uBreathe has taken up marquee projects for wider social impact. Some of the projects include air quality management projects with the UN House Delhi, Government of Maharashtra, Public primary schools in Chennai.

Founders

  • Sanjay Maurya, Co-founder & CEO – LIF7 Fellow, FMS Delhi, IIT Kanpur.
  • Akshay Goyal, Co-founder & Design Head, MIT Media Labs, Harvard school of Design, Sushant School of Architecture.
  • Akhil Gupta, Co-Founder & Director, Co-founded Autoninja, Bumper, Moontara IIM Bangalore ‘11 & IIT Kanpur ‘05.

The founding team has extensive prior experience in building and innovating tech products and solutions. Before uBreathe, the majority of the team had been part of successful startups. To retain the winning team together, they stayed together to work on one of the most pressing issues of our generation – air pollution! The incident that did thrust the movement of finding a solution was when two of the co-founders fell victim to asthma owing to air pollution. The team decided to find a solution that integrates nature, design, and technology.

Their long-term goal is to democratize access to clean air and build a globally reputed brand for air quality solutions.

Website – https://uBreathe.in/

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