IIT Gandhinagar Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center supports an indigenous anti-microbial air purifier start-up with a seed fund of Rs 50 lakh

IIT Gandhinagar Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center supports an indigenous anti-microbial air purifier start-up with a seed fund of Rs 50 lakh

Giving impetus to the Make in India movement for the fight against Covid-19, the IIT Gandhinagar Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (IIEC), a technology business incubator supported by the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, has provided a seed funding of Rs 50 lakh to Airth Research Private Limited, a start-up developing indigenous and effective anti-microbial air purifiers. This is the highest funding provided to a start-up by an incubation centre under this programme.

The seed funding is being provided under the Nidhi4Covid2.0, a special drive initiated by the National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), DST, Government of India, to support indigenous solutions and innovative products, which would enable our country to fight against COVID-19 pandemic more strongly. Out of the total commitment of funding of Rs 50 lakh, IIEC has already released the first instalment of Rs 25 lakh to Airth Research Private Limited. Apart from the funding, IIEC is also providing mentoring and marketing support to the start-up to scale up their product technology to the next level as fast as possible.

The start-up supported by IIEC and founded by Mr Ravi Kaushik, an alumnus of IIT Bombay, is involved in developing anti-microbial air purifiers, which can reduce and deactivate the germs, including Coronavirus-sized particles, by 99.99%. The company has currently developed an air purifier for large spaces, and it is being used by early adapters such as RBI office in Mumbai, SHCIL, and ONGC, among others. With support under the Nidhi4Covid 2.0 by IIEC, Airth Research Private Limited now proposes to develop a smaller version of their air purifier using the same technology but better efficiency for households and small office applications.

Sharing his thoughts on receiving the funding from IIEC, Mr Ravi Kaushik, founder and CEO, Airth Research Private Limited, said, “It has been great to receive support from IIEC under the Nidhi4Covid2.0 programme. Because of this funding, we were able to deliver our products to a cancer hospital, and now we are able to contribute to saving the lives of immunocompromised patients in that hospital. To multi-fold our impact, we will scale up our manufacturing with IIEC’s support.”

Lauding the efforts by AiRTH and sharing the philosophy of IIEC, Mr Anand Pandey of IIEC, said, “We are happy to support and empower AiRTH in our collective fight to defeat the pandemic. Such indigenous technologies developed by bright minds within the country shows India’s strength in technological domains. At IIEC, we are on a mission to foster techno-entrepreneurship through innovative and creative thinking using an interdisciplinary approach. We are providing start-ups the right kind of support ecosystem through a pool of mentors, advisors, and advanced infrastructure so that they can convert their ideas into viable and scalable businesses.”

Key features of the technology developed by AiRTH:The anti-microbial air purification technology developed by the start-up protects people not only from unseen germs and air pollutants but also from disease transmission. Unlike normal air purifiers/filters, which become a breeding ground for germs, the technology developed by AiRTH deactivates the germs from the ambient air. This technology works on DCD (Deactivate-Capture-Deactivate) mechanism in which pathogens/viruses are inactivated by UV-C irradiation, captured using special filters with a coating that imparts anti-microbial properties and improves filtration efficiency, and then bombarded with reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the filter, OH radicals from ionization, and continuous UVC irradiation. This combination reduces and deactivates the germs and viruses from the air by 99.99%. Not only this, their anti-microbial coating on the filters is biodegradable, and their current air purifiers can cover and purify the air in an area of up to 500 sq ft. They have successfully tested the technology on virus-RNA, bacteria and fungus and are now working on testing it on drug-resistant microbes.