Air pollution is a serious environmental problem that has a huge effect on the wellbeing of the world’s population, as well as a significant drain on the economy. To a certain extent, it is recognized in the modern world that the air we breathe is polluted in some manner, but most people do not understand the seriousness of the problem, the impact it could have on their health, or the capacity to fight the current epidemic.
More than 90 per cent of people on earth live in places where air pollution exceeds the standards prescribed by the World Health Organization, so this is a serious problem that impacts almost all.
In general, air pollution is any gas or material emitted into the Earth’s atmosphere in adequate amounts to harm human or animal health, adversely impact plant growth, destroy the human and natural ecosystem, or cause other problems such as bad smells or poor visibility. Although air pollution can be the result of natural activities—e.g. volcanic eruption—human activity is the most modern source of air pollution.
Every year, 30,000 people die in Delhi due to air pollution, 14,800 of which are premature deaths. It is estimated that each Delhiite’s life expectancy of at least 10 years is shortened because of the air they breathe.
Delhi has been shrouded with a cloud of poisonous smog every winter for the past five or six years. Some of the typical symptoms that everybody faces are decreased vision, itchiness in the eyes, throat infection and headache, aside from the long-term dangerous adverse health consequences. Any sensitive young people who have come up with novel ways to combat air pollution have been shook up by the worsening air pollution. In various cities and towns in India, especially industrial cities, air pollution is almost as bad as in Delhi.
But where there are challenges, there are solutions, technologies, and opportunity. In order to effectively handle the growing epidemic, various startups have entered the market with products designed to address a number of different aspects of air pollution.
This article relies on a StartupLynx analysis. You can access the full startups list monitoring the air quality for free here
There are several emerging technologies and startups working on solutions for Smart Cities. As there is a large number of startups working on a wide variety of solutions, this time, we will have a look at 5 promising Air Quality Management solutions.
Top air quality management solutions for smart cities
With rising levels of air pollution in recent decades, cities are searching for innovative ways to monitor air quality and composition in order to improve air quality. One way to achieve this is by continuous real-time tracking of gaseous composition, pollutants and particular substances or particles using a network of specialized sensors.
Swisens is the developer of advanced optical sensors based in Switzerland. Their product, Poleno, detects aerosols, allergens, and pollens in real-time based on light spectroscopy, polarization, and holographic imagery.
Conventional air quality observation techniques rely mainly on the collection of quantitative data and at the same time putting less emphasis on qualitative observations. Air quality data analysis in smart cities, on the other hand, focuses on gaining useful and realistic knowledge. This is then used to build urban air maps and navigation, increase awareness and support local decision-making.
AirLib, a US-based startup, provides an air quality intelligence platform. It uses data from the automotive sensor to create air maps for urban areas. They can be used to alert residents about traffic pollution and to suggest more air-safe city routes.
Air quality data modeling aims to deepen the processes taking place at the level of air molecules in smart cities. Dynamic and static data modeling facilitates the detection of bottlenecks and the identification of key factors influencing urban air and eventually lead to the optimization of quality management.
Russian startup City Air creates simulation models which provides insights on quality of the air. These models classify sources of contamination, calculate appropriate city-wide sensor network configurations, measure the effects of urban planning efforts, and provide forecasts for air pollution.
Urban air purification seeks to intensify the effect of renewable technology or emerging materials on smart cities’ ecosystems. Urban purifiers neutralize toxic pollutants due to their natural or artificial properties. As a result, the protection of smart cities from air pollution is improved.
Denmark-based startup PurCity designs proprietary sustainable air purification panels for new and refurbished building facades as well as bus stops. Their approach turns city walls into huge air purifiers by integrating pollution control, smart maintenance and self-cleaning features.
With regular occurrences of smog in modern cities and the concerns about respiratory problems, smart city people face more air-related risks. In exchange, they implicitly boost demand for personalized air sensors and nasal wearables to improve individual protection. Through the aid of these devices, people become more aware of the atmosphere and take care of the quality of the ambient air.
Clenare is an Indian startup that provides strong personal nasal wear, made of flexible medical grade material. The product gives security against indoor and outdoor air contaminants, urban emissions from cars and manufacturing facilities, pollen, mold and allergens and thereby increases the efficiency of breathing air.
Also There are several startups which are focusing on two main activities like to monitor and measure the quality of air and also focusing on the methods to purify the air.
Top air quality monitoring startups
uHoo is an air quality monitoring startup founded by Dustin Jefferson Onghanseng and Brian Lin who had chronic breathing conditions. They designed their first air quality sensor at a 24-hour hackathon, prompting them to set up their company and share a passion to help people lead healthy lives. Their sophisticated indoor air monitoring technology is capable of measuring more pollutants than most products on the market. With all potential detection of ozone, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, pollen and volatile organic compounds.
Awair is an indoor air quality monitor that measures toxins and chemicals in the air along with moisture and dust levels and offers advice about how to improve air quality. Last year, they earned a hefty $4.5 million in the Series A funding round and are predicted to continue to grow at pace.
Building on the strength of the communities, the Air Quality Egg allows people to calculate pollution levels with the device and then exchange this data with other Egg users in order to create an efficient data network. There are 5 Egg Model varieties capable of testing 7 different pollutants, such as particulate matter, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, and more. Devices use the setup software, with data transmitted directly to the internet where it can be processed and circulated. Air quality egg has won a “Best of Kickstarter 2012” award for raising more than $144,000.
In the 3 1⁄2 years since its establishment, Breezometer has raised a remarkable $4.8 million in two rounds of investment. The API for air quality monitoring offers automated air quality analysis and data to companies and goods through both data distribution and automated applications. Their way of distributing hyper-local and real-time data is proving invaluable to a wide variety of sectors and businesses, from automotive to smart home devices.
Oizom is the start-up behind a solar-powered outdoor air quality control device called Polludrone. The use of solar power by Polludrone and its refurbish design mean that it can effectively be built into existing infrastructure. It monitors a broad variety of environmental parameters such as particulate matter, ozone, and sulphides. And then captures this data in the Oizom Terminal cloud analytics platform to offer a wide range of reports and functions.
Top Smart air quality meters and purifying startups
Green City Solutions blends the natural potential of plants to recycle and purify air with the Internet of Things technologies, based on providing improved living environments for residents in communities, to make a strong contribution to the growth of smarter cities. The CityTree, a mobile biological air filter that uses the air-purifying capacity of moss to produce the equivalent effect of 275 urban trees, is the main product that helps accomplish this goal.
Graviky is an extremely creative start-up that does something very remarkable with polluted air, turning it into ink. Graviky has developed a renovation system that captures and turns toxic air from multiple sources into ink that can then be used for a number of purposes. In October of 2017, the company raised almost $120,000 in funding and has also run a successful Kickstarter campaign.
Vogmask, headquartered in San Francisco, sells its filtering respirator masks in 41 nations worldwide. It tends to focus on converting a traditionally practical product into one that is fashionable and attractive. The most sophisticated mask uses a filter that stops 99 percent of all PM2.5 particles effectively. To keep the trends fresh and attractive, new trend-driven collections are launched twice a year, keeping the business a step ahead of other mask manufacturers.
Kurin, based in India, is also focusing on one of the boundaries of air pollution. This start-up produces a number of purifiers of different sizes, including what they describe as the “first portable purifier in the world.” This purifier can be carried in a car to help tackle in-car air pollution, and this device may be the one that gives the start-up a bit of an advantage provided that in car pollution is a significant health risk.
Plume Labs is an air pollution data collection and analysis company. It develops a small portable air quality sensor called Flow which it sells to consumers to help them understand the levels of pollution at various places (home, workplace, etc.). The data collected from all the Flow sensors in a specific area/city is also incorporated into weather maps that are sold to governments, businesses and researchers/planners. In addition, Plume also offers an AI-powered pollution forecasting tool, made available through an API.
Aclima designs and deploys environmental sensor networks that collect, process, and understand real-time data about the environment. Aclima deploys sensors indoors, outdoors, and on vehicles in order to provide to provide insights into environment around us. Aclima’s offers an end to end solution complete with hardware and software.
Airly builds networks of air quality sensors that can be deployed across entire cities to enable real-time monitoring of air quality via an online map. Their sensor provides measurement of various environmental attributes such as temperature, humidity, pollutant measurement (PM10 and PM2.5), pressure etc. The application involves the sensor to be deployed across the city which will provide real time insights on areas which are safe for visiting. Their platform overlays the sensor data over a virtual map of the city to indicate healthy/unhealthy zones. They also provide an API that allows access to the data collected for further analysis.
Indoor air quality
Health problems such as respiratory disorders (e.g. asthma), allergies, and certainly lung cancer can be caused by air pollution. It is one of Europe’s main environmental health issues, and the EU’s air policy priority is to reach air quality standards that do not result in unreasonable threats to human health.
In addressing outdoor air pollution, a lot of improvement has been made. Indeed, outdoor air quality is monitored across Europe, and restrictions on the concentration of the most common outdoor air pollutants have been implemented. However it is necessary to take both outdoor and indoor air into account when dealing with air pollution.
Some indoor air emissions come from the outside air, but most of them are introduced into the home, for example through the use of cleaning agents, air fresheners, chemicals, cooking and heating fuels. Another common cause of indoor air pollution is pollution from building materials and furniture. Micro-organisms can also contaminate indoor air and cause allergies and asthma, such as fungi that expel spores.
Indoor air quality can be impacted by global trends such as climate change and rising energy costs. Extreme weather conditions, for example, may increase the need for additional thermal insulation and reduced ventilation, which may contribute to indoor temperatures becoming too high or too low or issues with humidity.
It is difficult to assess and control the health effects of indoor air pollution in Europe. Along with variations in cultural practices, lifestyle and climate, a wide range of pollutants, exposure levels and potential health effects must be acknowledged. Some individuals may also be more vulnerable than others such as infants, pregnant women and the elderly.
In order to effectively handle these problems, various indoor air quality startups have entered the market with products designed to address a number of different aspects of indoor air pollution.
Breeze technologies is the groundbreaking German air-quality monitoring company which has been named one of the EU’s most promising start-ups by the European Parliament. While the sensor network solution from Breeze focuses on being easy to use, behind an equally complex problem, it hides complex data-processing technology.
The co-founders of Breeze, Robert Heinecke and Sascha Kuntze, started the company in Hamburg to provide low-cost yet strong monitoring of both indoor and outdoor air quality that “makes sense of our surroundings” in their own words.
“Indoor air quality is equally as essential,” stresses Heinecke, CEO of Breeze. “For example, strategically located in the workplace, breeze sensor network can provide actionable data to ensure the health of employees as well.”
Air pollution causing allergic diseases
The prevalence of allergic disorders, a phenomena which can be primarily traced to environmental effects, has risen worldwide. Air pollution due to traffic is considered to be a significant hazard to childhood health among environmental variables. Residing along busy roadways is associated with increased hospitalization for asthma, reduced lung capacity, and increased wheezing and allergic rhinitis incidence and severity.
Orleans start-up Lify Air is planning to tackle pollen allergies in real time.
Presently, 30 percent of the French population, or 220 million people in Europe, is impacted by allergies.
Lify-Air is tackling this problem by offering sensors capable of informing about the presence of pollen in real time. But also of analyzing the data, and of predicting the future pollen episodes.
As uncertainty about a potential relation between the transmission of the virus and air quality remains unclear, the rise of COVID-19 has pushed the topic of air contamination forward.
What we may claim is that many cities have felt the impact of better air quality during lockdown, whether there is a connection or not. There’s no better time to start tackling air pollution than now and maybe the Air quality Startups by StartupLynx is a hint of new improvements to come.
We conclude saying that, the future of air quality will be data driven. Food plays a vital role in our day-to-day lives. But the healthy food we are consuming are entirely dependent on the good air and water quality surrounded by us. The efficiency of the air we breathe depends on our everyday lifestyle choices. In the end, though, there would still have to be a concerted initiative between start-ups, companies, communities, non-governmental organizations and research agencies to work together to find solutions. We think that only by getting together as many players as possible and creating a shared goal could solve problems such as air pollution and climate change.
This article relies on a StartupLynx analysis. You can access the full radar and the full listing of startups monitoring the air quality for free:
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