Over the course of a semester-equivalent, my team carried out R&D on AirCloud, a Device for Eliminating Ambient Air Pollution. AirCloud uses proven filtration technologies with novel filter management systems to empower local governments to reduce outdoor particulate matter concentrations for their citizens to work, relax, and commute. AirCloud is intended to be a distributed grid-tied filtration device that integrates into existing infrastructure such as street lamps and street signs to tackle ambient air pollution in street canyons, highly-traveled of ambient air that contain up to 4x the concentration of particulate matter of other areas.
According to World Health Organization data, approximately 4 million people die premature deaths each year due to outdoor air pollution, 91% of which are in South-East Asian and Western Pacific Regions; therein lies an opportunity: according to WHO 2005, reducing PM10 (Particulate Matter Diameter < 10 micrometers) from 70 to 20 micrograms/m3 would cut air pollution deaths by about 15%.
In key cities in these regions, between 74% – 93% of PM2.5 comes from nonpoint sources such as road dust, diesel generators, and transport, whereas only 7% – 26% of PM2.5 comes from point sources like industry and power plants. These figures demonstrate the importance of ambient air filtration technologies like AirCloud rather than point source filtration tech (i.e. industrial scrubbers) for reducing air-pollution related deaths.
Upon reflection of the semester equivalent, we realized that our approach and organization had much room for improvement. We were initially inspired to pursue an “Agile Engineering” approach that is characterized by rapid prototyping and development; however, upon reflection, it seems that we went a bit too far––not taking enough time to truly understand our problem, market potential, and competitive landscape, or to analyze the relative potential of multiple different solutions.
Photo Documentation of Work
Awards / Recognition