Uchchatar Avishkar Yojana: Low Cost Semiconductor and Optical Sensors based Urban Air Quality Monitoring Network System (SENSurAIR)”

Researchers at IIT Delhi are developing low cost pollutant sensors that have the capacity to map the quality of urban air over a larger area and check the presence of three important pollutants.

The project “Low Cost Semiconductor and Optical Sensors based Urban Air Quality Monitoring Network System (SENSurAIR)” aims at development of low-cost semiconductor and optical sensor based urban ambient air quality monitoring network along with their field calibration and data dissemination through wireless communication network.

IIT Delhi, IIT Madras and Envirotech Instruments Private Limited (EIPL), New Delhi are the partners in this project. The project is funded by Ministry of Human Resources & Development (MHRD), Government of India with Industry contribution from EIPL, New Delhi under UcchatarAvishkarYojana (UAY) scheme. Under this arrangement MHRD is funding Rs. 2.28 crores and contribution from EIPL is Rs.76.1 Lakhs. The total duration of the project is 3.5 years.

“The novelty in the project lies in enhancement of spatial resolution of monitoring network using low cost air pollutant sensors around an urban area strengthening the current system of air quality monitoring stations consisting of expensive immobile units,” says Dr Mukesh Khare, the project investigator.

Maintaining that the ‘zone of influence’ of such single stations does not go beyond few hundred meters Prof Khare said that the low cost sensor based monitoring network can cover almost all the air quality control regions in the area providing dense data sets on air pollutants. “Such dense data sets are beneficial in formulating Urban Air Quality Management (UAQM) framework which is further useful in designing early health hazard warning system,” he said.

Such air pollutant monitoring network consisting of low-cost pollutant sensors would be an essential requirement of smart city programme run by the Government of India. With the increased population growth rate, provision of infrastructure and other amenities in smart cities become mandatory. Under such cases, the city’s growth is significantly affected resulting in increase of air pollution related problems. To tackle them, low cost sensors for monitoring air quality are needed which may help the decision makers to take effective and appropriate decisions on managing urban air quality and thus protecting the people’s health. This project is targeting the sole objective of designing, fabricating and calibrating the low cost air quality sensors.

One of the novelty of this project is the indigenous development of low cost sensors and sensor devices.

Low cost sensor based on oxide nanoparticles, semiconductor thin film and optical fibers will be developed for sensing environment gases. In addition, light scattering based sensors will be developed for detecting the concentration of particulate matter in the environment. These sensors will be developed in the laboratories of Dr B RMehta, Dr M CBhatanagar, Dr B.D Gupta and Dr D S Mehta (Physics Department).

S K Gupta Chairman, Envirotech Instruments Pvt ltd New Delhi agrees. “This project is for development of low cost sensors for three very critical and important pollutants .None of these sensors are currently produced in India.Availability of such sensors would lead to development of localizedair quality monitoring networks which would help communitiesthemselves to monitor air quality in their localities and takeadequate safeguards.This would bring about a revolutionary change in the way air qualityis being measured and reported today.”

With the increased population growth rate, provision of infrastructure and other amenities in smart cities become mandatory. Under such cases, the city’s growth is significantly affected resulting in increase of air pollution related problems. To tackle them, low cost sensors for monitoring air quality are needed which may help the decision makers to take effective and appropriate decisions on managing urban air quality and thus protecting the people’s health. This project is targeting the sole objective of designing, fabricating and calibrating the low cost air quality sensors.

The Team consists of Dr MukeshKhare (IIT Delhi), Dr Bodh Raj Mehta (IIT Delhi), Dr Dalip Singh Mehta (IIT Delhi), Dr B.D Gupta (IIT Delhi), Dr A.K.Nema (IIT Delhi), Dr.MukeshBhatnagar (IIT Delhi), Dr N. J. Vasa (IIT Madras), Dr D. Jalihal (IIT Madras), Dr.Sulochana K (IIT Madras),Dr. S.M Shivanagendra (IIT Madras), Dr P V.Kamakoti (IIT Madras), Mr. S.K.Gupta (Envirotech India Private Limited) and Dr .RakeshAgarawal (Envirotech India Private Limited).