How India’s Air Pollution is Being Turned into Stylish Floor Tiles

In an effort to spare his generation from the choking air pollution in cities like Delhi, Angad Daryani has invented a filterless outdoor air purifier that collects air particulate matter that can be used by a company that makes custom tiling.

Existing air purification infrastructure is very expensive, and many use filters to clean out particulates, meaning they need replacement filters regularly.

Two of Daryani’s five-and-a-bit-feet-tall devices cost less than the latest iPhone, while filtering 300 cubic feet of air per minute—more than enough for a small family house.

His company Praan has raised $1.5 million in startup investment, billing itself as the world’s most-advanced, cheapest, artificial intelligence air purifier. Firms in his home country of India, but other nations like South Korea and Mexico that struggle with air pollution, have all shown interest.

Daryani plans to use the money to run a pilot program across India this autumn, deploying the device in schools, hotels, and industrial projects. His prime directive is keeping the cost low, as those who suffer most from polluted air are often the poorest in society.

“Many of the world’s most polluted countries are among the poorest,” Daryani explained to the BBC. “Poor people work in factories, build the streets and infrastructure, and take public transport to get to work. They live and work in the most polluted environments.”

One of the major selling points of his purifier is that the collection chamber doesn’t need to be changed for six months, but realizing what he and his machines had in fact captured was valuable raw materials, he gave the leftover pollutants to another Indian company called Carbon Craft Design.

They make stylish tiles for floors and walls that clean sometimes as much as 5 kilograms of CO2 per tile, and draw carbon emissions from the transport, tanning, paper, and lubricants industries.

Carbon Craft uses the powered air particulate like a dye, combining it with rock waste from quarrying to create a totally upcycled flooring product.