GOAL: To create an air monitoring module (kit) that is self-reliant and easy to use and to display the data in a simple manner to help plan carbon removal in (i) residential and corporate spaces and (ii) open environments.

Atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide—the most dangerous and prevalent greenhouse gas—are a global cause for concern. But to tackle this threat, we first need to understand how this impacts the environment. Carbon dioxide in the air doesn't always mean pollution. It's only after it reaches a certain limit that it starts proving harmful to life on Earth. It's not only carbon, but other gases too that create nuance and harm our well-being. Like carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, and nitrogen oxides, they not only cause numerous respiratory diseases but also have a neurological impact.

Our idea focuses on the creation of affordable, compact, clean kits that can be used for monitoring air quality in residential and corporate spaces. These kits can also be fitted to unmanned vehicles to create mobile sensing units or fixated at a place for fixed sensing units to further explore usability without major hardware changes. The kits sense data, process, and transmit it, and data can be uploaded over the cloud to be later assessed and worked upon as necessary.

The insides of the kit would contain a fan for the air intake and, obviously, a space for the outlet. The air would be sent towards the sensor (for example, MQ7 for carbon monoxide, MQ2 for hydrocarbons, SCD42-D-R2 for carbon dioxide, etc.). This sensed data would be transferred to a local server, directly uploaded by a ESP8266 module connected to the LAN. This type of system seems to work great in an enclosed environment like an office space or a household. When it comes to open spaces, like a vast stretch of the mountainside, an unmanned all-terrain vehicle or a UAV fitted with the sensor kit would work the best. The hardware difference would be using LoRa.

The used electronics, apart from the fan and sensor, are the ESP8266 and Arduino+LoRa to process and send data in a secure manner, consuming the least power possible. They would be powered by a rechargeable battery source and to further negate the miniscule carbon footprint, they could be powered using solar energy.

The data would then be analyzed using a software and displayed as necessary. All basic models will contain carbon dioxide sensors and other sensors, like the LM35 temperature-humidity sensor, or MQ2, MQ7, and other factors affecting air quality can be added as necessary to the study. When dealing with fixed modules on a vast and barren land where it is necessary to monitor the quality of air, the data can be sent using RF to a common node and then uploaded over the cloud.

Some of the issues addressed by this process would be: 
1. As it is a kit, the set up and boot are very simple. Just connect to your own software and keep a track.
2. It saves space and doesn't cost much to produce. (The kit for households/ corporate spaces can be produced in under
50 USD and the ones to be fitted to a mobile monitoring unit would only require the additional cost of drone or RC
3. Real-time data and analysis to make it easy to keep a record of the causes and work upon carbon removal in a more
efficient manner.

Another advantage of a small kit would be to attach a DAC unit to it to help improve the quality of air in the area and aid the process of carbon removal.
Effectively monitoring the data using simpler means of sampling, sensing, and analyzing would lead to a solid foundation to the colossal task of carbon removal, and that is what we hope to achieve. Without going to a crazy idea just to face logical obstacles, we decided to stick to pure basics and hope to achieve carbon removal using other physical and biochemical means.


The project would be a step forward in understanding the relationship between the Science of Electronics and Nature. We are eager to work for the environment in our respective fields. With a group of CS, Electronics, Physics, and Chem students that we are, we plan to monitor, remove, and treat the excess CO2 in the air all around us using new and innovative processes. This project is our first step in doing so. What inspired us to take part in this competition is the global platform it provides us. We need a way to monitor carbon, its emissions and concentrations as extensively as we can, and this is a way we can simplify doing it. The project that we took up was not only for the benefit of humankind but also to hone our skills and experience the challenge. To face the difficulties involved, the critical thinking, the trials and errors, and finally to experience the sweet fruits of the labor that was put in. All to be a better human, a smarter human.


Voting is closed!