This Prodigy Has Constructed One in all World’s Most Superior Air Purification Tech


Angad Daryani, the 25-year-old founding father of Praan, Inc., a deep-tech startup primarily based out of Mumbai, is a part of a era that grew up with a actuality of a bleak future—one plagued with air pollution and local weather change. 

“Earlier generations grew up with the promise of an thrilling future the place Should you labored exhausting and constructed a profession, [the expectation was that] the long run could be nice. However our era grew up with the truth of local weather change, animal extinction, and extreme air and water air pollution. Since I used to be about six years outdated and realized about this stuff on Nationwide Geographic, this discomfort a couple of bleak future has stayed with me,” explains Angad, in a dialog with The Higher India

Fixing real-world issues has at all times excited him. A baby prodigy from Mumbai, Angad constructed his first robotic and a solar-powered boat at age 8, moreover constructing a homegrown 3D printer by 13 and an e-reader (Digital Brailler) for the visually-challenged by 15. He briefly dropped out of the education system due to his disillusionment with the rote learning-based state board system.  

“I discovered faculty complicated. Whereas I used to be doing properly academically, the rote-based training didn’t construct my fundamentals which might turn out to be apparent once I’d compete in Olympiads and wrestle to unravel issues. Concurrently a pastime, I used to be constructing all these complicated engineering tasks at dwelling by myself just by watching movies or studying books. Once I dropped out of college, my dad and mom employed a tutor who would train me all the identical issues as different highschool college students, whereas rebuilding my fundamentals. Since I didn’t have homework and was fixing issues whereas studying the subjects, I had lots of free time to deal with my scientific hobbies.” he remembers. 

Throughout this time, when Angad was round 14 years outdated, he wrote an e mail to Professor Ramesh Raskar, an Indian-born professor on the Massachusetts Institute of Expertise (MIT). At the moment, he’s an Affiliate Professor of media arts and sciences on the famend MIT Media Lab and an advisor to famend know-how giants like Google and Apple.

“It’s amusing trying again at my ignorance, however I wrote to him saying, ‘You might be an Indian professor and MIT brings vibrant younger college students from around the globe to its campus, so why not deliver on somebody from India?’ Extremely, he wrote again virtually instantly and I ended up working with MIT through their India Initiative for 2 years constructing know-how that would clear up real-world issues in well being tech. Even until this present day, Professor Raskar stays supportive of my journey and has been an unbelievable mentor” he remembers. 

After these two years working with MIT, he went again to an IB (Worldwide Baccalaureate) faculty, following which he studied electrical engineering on the prestigious Georgia Institute of Expertise (Georgia Tech). It was throughout his time in school when he determined to behave on the rising downside of air air pollution and started creating options for it.  

Right now, his startup has constructed one of many “world’s most superior air purification applied sciences” utilizing a singular mixture {of electrical} cost dispersion and airflow optimization-based processes – permitting particles to be charged and creating electrical fields that transfer the particles to a set chamber. Angad mixed his background in electrical engineering, product design, IoT, course of engineering, and manufacturing to create an entire new class of air purifiers. 

In brief, his resolution works by means of a community of air purifying models that may clear air inside massive areas like manufacturing facility flooring in simply minutes by mapping how the air pollution is flowing on the store flooring after which strategically inserting the air purifiers to seize that air pollution. For instance, Praan’s newest product known as the MK II (‘Mach 2’) has a excessive purification charge of 1300 cubic ft per minute. 


Impressed by sickness 

Rising up in Mumbai, Angad suffered from bronchial asthma. Each winter, significantly through the festive season, he would endure respiratory difficulties as a consequence of excessive air air pollution and his household must depart the town.  

“With bronchial asthma and excessive mud ranges within the metropolis, I might wrestle to play soccer. I couldn’t run correctly as a result of my stamina would take successful and I might cough always. However this was a actuality for lots of people dwelling round me. Right now, whereas I can transfer to a rustic with a cleaner atmosphere, I can’t count on my household and associates to do the identical. I couldn’t see them breathe this poisonous air day by day and because of this discovering an answer was so vital to me,” remembers Angad. 

In 2017, simply earlier than he started his sophomore 12 months at Georgia Tech, he started engaged on options for city air air pollution however this got here with some actual challenges.  

“If I used Georgia Tech’s infrastructure to construct my resolution, as per the clauses, they might personal all of the mental property. In consequence, I wouldn’t have the liberty to commercialise it as per evolving necessities. And therefore, commercially, we didn’t have entry to any of their labs. Additionally, on account of my visa standing, I legally couldn’t register an organization and begin a enterprise with a co-founder there whereas being a university scholar,” he remembers.  

“And the reality about constructing air purification know-how is that it’s not simply the air purifier or the sensor you’re constructing, however you’re additionally constructing the infrastructure to check it in several wind, temperature, humidity, and air pollution circumstances. Given the dearth of economic sources through the bootstrap part, it was fairly exhausting to construct a protected check chamber that would work in all these totally different circumstances, present correct and dependable knowledge and let you check with all totally different supplies of mud, gases and pollution,” provides Angad.  

In consequence, Angad began constructing the prototypes of those filterless purification programs primarily based on physics ideas out of his condominium room close to Georgia Tech the place primary traits may very well be inspected visually. 

In response to this detailed description on Praan’s web site, “He would carry the prototype for two miles a number of instances each week from his condominium to the on-campus makerspace to construct the earliest variations of a filterless air purification system. The gadget first began with a paint-bucket prototype after which made it to a metal ducting system model.” 

“As he continued to work on it, increasingly more college students round campus would discover him strolling throughout the garden with this 5ft-tall steel construction which seemed like a jet engine. Out of curiosity, they might speak to him,” it provides. 

A few weeks later, nonetheless, CNN reached out to him to interview for his or her ‘Tomorrow’s Hero’ collection. Following discussions over e mail, they got here right down to the Georgia Tech campus and shot a video with him the place they mentioned his mission, strategy and the know-how he was constructing to deal with city air air pollution. CNN ultimately recorded and printed this text and video which went viral very quickly. 

It’s vital to notice, nonetheless, that Angad wasn’t initially excited by constructing your typical indoor air purifiers you can set up at dwelling.  

“Regardless of the industrial attraction, I resisted creating a standard indoor air purifying system. I used to be not interested by the highest 1% who can afford a Dyson however that baby who walks to highschool day by day or a manufacturing facility employee inhaling poisonous air throughout his/her shifts. My goal was to search out one thing that may be executed for giant areas,” he says.  

“One other vital aspect was to not contain filters. If I preserve a filter-based air air purifier at a big house in Delhi through the winter one must change the filter each hour. I needed to construct a filterless system, which suggests no recurring price of possession in these massive areas,” he provides. 

Angad Daryani with an MK II at a factory floor.
Angad Daryani with an MK II at a manufacturing facility flooring

Energy of volunteers

A few months after his look on CNN, Angad returned to India for the summer time the place he continued to work on prototyping the units and testing them in India. 

As the Praan web site notes, “Since this challenge was fully bootstrapped with no exterior financing, all of the prototyping was executed with off-the-shelf elements and built-in Angad’s bed room and terrace in Mumbai, every prototype was hand constructed, minimize, glued, soldered, and examined outdoor. Throughout this course of, he stored posting photos of his progress on the web.” 

The reason goes on so as to add, “Deeptech was nonetheless new in India and therefore the provision of danger capital was bleak. So Angad needed to bootstrap the challenge and noticed 30 extra volunteers be a part of him in his mission as he returned to Atlanta within the Fall 2018. This group was essentially making an attempt to determine if filterless air purification utilizing chilly plasma know-how was attainable and was alternatively additionally experimenting with bioengineering strategies for purifying air in cities.”

Since his group didn’t have an workplace or entry to capital, all experimenting of the core tech was executed in public parking heaps or park benches in Atlanta throughout after-hours or on weekends. After a few months, Angad and his group of over 30 volunteers developed the primary prototypes for filterless air purification units and realized easy methods to design check rigs for constructing these programs – a course of they are saying they proceed to invent and be taught from even right now, 6 years later. 

This was additionally the time when the challenge received the identify ‘Praan’. Throughout this time, Angad and some members of the group even reached out to the Ministry of Atmosphere, Forest and Local weather Change in India to suggest a filterless strategy to out of doors air purification. Following this, in December 2018, they flew to New Delhi and demonstrated the idea for his or her first prototype.

“Quickly after this, the conversations round Praan’s mission grew throughout the Georgia Tech and Emory College Campuses, resulting in many extra folks making use of to affix the group of volunteers engaged on this mission. In a fraction of weeks, the group grew to 64 folks within the Spring 2019. This was the biggest volunteering group [that] Praan ever had,” notes the Praan web site. 

“To develop filterless massive house air purification know-how, you want individuals with totally different specialisations—mechanical designers, chemical engineers, physicists, full-stack builders and people with an understanding of energy electronics and embedded {hardware}, amongst others. Once I began creating this know-how in my sophomore 12 months, I knew easy methods to construct prototypes however knew nothing about fluid dynamics,” Angad tells The Higher India.  

A lot of painstaking work into developing Praan
A variety of painstaking work into creating Praan

So, how do you entice scholar volunteers to work in your challenge? 

“You give them recognition on patents, which could be very precious for a 3rd or fourth-year engineering scholar. And when you may give them actual hands-on expertise, which they’re practising by means of that semester, they’ve a superb story to inform to job recruiters. Plus, given my prior expertise at MIT and the community I developed there, I knew senior individuals who labored in firms like Apple, Tesla or SpaceX. I may assist introduce these volunteers to those folks, saying they labored on my challenge. For instance, Patrick Finley, the founding father of Lander Challenger, went to work at SpaceX after working as a volunteer for Praan,” he says.

Within the following summer time, Angad returned to India with one in every of his Instructing Assistants (TAs) and ran additional experiments at a retailer room belonging to his father’s firm. In the meantime, Naresh Shahani (presently a director at Praan), helped receive an unsecured mortgage of $15,000 to fund the analysis and growth. Taken in Angad’s identify, this sum was ultimately doubled and returned in 2021. 

Later that summer time, Angad, his TA and two interns put collectively the prototype of what would turn out to be the MKOne Out of doors Air Air purifier. The plan transferring ahead was that Angad would graduate in 2020, run this firm full-time after graduating, and lift capital. Regardless of his greatest efforts, securing funding was a serious problem. By January 2020, buyers hadn’t caught on to the potential of deep tech and the provides on the desk weren’t passable. 

Regardless of these challenges, he managed “to pool collectively some smooth commitments value $1.35M from an Indian VC fund and some strategic angels on very dangerous funding phrases”. As these offers had been being finalised, the COVID-19 pandemic struck and every little thing fell aside. But to graduate from school, he needed to pack every little thing up and are available again to India whereas finishing on-line courses to get his diploma.  

However there was a silver lining. Since folks had been dropping their jobs and internships, there have been many seeking to work on one thing that may advance their careers. Much like what he did earlier, Angad supplied recognition on Praan patents to anybody who helped develop the know-how additional both remotely and even as a volunteer. 

In complete, Praan managed to onboard about 60 volunteers from a number of time zones who selected to dedicate about 4 months of their time to work on their know-how.  Whereas the {hardware} was constructed and developed out of Angad and his intern’s bedrooms in Mumbai, different volunteers from around the globe contributed with their concepts and engineering drawings for his or her prototypes. 

In response to the Praan web site, there have been additionally “design groups engaged on concepts for the MK One product, the indoor air purification, bioengineering, carbon seize, and software program engineering merchandise—all with none capital within the financial institution”.

Actual funding and help lastly got here within the type of Emergent Ventures, a fellowship and grant programme run by well-known economist Dr. Tyler Cowen. It gave this fledgling startup the biggest grant through the lockdown interval which helped them entry capital to construct prototypes and check rigs as properly. Within the subsequent few months, they developed a working prototype of the MKOne Out of doors Air air purifier in India.  

Nevertheless, there was little or no buyer or investor curiosity and a negligible quantity of distributors had been keen to fabricate the MKOne prototype. Angad spent about 5 months ready for distributors to fabricate the primary usable MKOne prototype. Uninterested in ready, Angad determined “to construct the primary MKOne prototype at a utensil manufacturing plant.”

Whereas there have been variations between this prototype and future merchandise by way of dimensions and ending, they lastly had an actual product that they may present buyers. Furthermore, it gave the Praan group actual confidence that they may begin to manufacture this product in India.

How does this know-how work?

Each the MKOne and the more moderen MK-II Air Purification programs work on related fundamentals. 

Chatting with The Higher India, Angad explains, “Particles are pulled in utilizing followers, charged in a really confined house, instantly separated from the air stream after which pushed down utilizing pulses into a set bucket. Merely put, it actively pulls polluted air from the highest, separates the particulate matter utilizing Praan’s patent-pending filterless know-how, collects it in a set tray and releases cleaner air again into the hyperlocal ambiance by means of the shops.”

“The MKOne was designed for particulate matter concentrations of as much as 1000 ug/m3 whereas the MK-II manages AQI as much as 40,000 ug/m3. The MK-I used to be designed for out of doors purposes–constructing compounds, widespread areas, faculty compounds, and so forth. The MK-II gadget was designed for industrial use circumstances—manufacturing facility flooring the place there are extremely excessive mud volumes and ranges. MKOne’s triangular design was for early prototypes since that was a comparatively straightforward form to fabricate. Nevertheless, the cylinder is the very best form to make sure that the gadget doesn’t topple when positioned outdoors in excessive wind circumstances,” provides Angad. 

MKOne was first proven to the world in December 2020. The MK-II was designed and soft-launched in December 2023, and commercially launched in July 2023. 

Air Purification: The MKOne
Air Purification: The MKOne

“MK-II has eight instances the purification capability and 5 instances the storage capability of MKOne,” he claims. 

Praan has additionally developed HIVE, an indoor air air purifier. Angad claims, “The HIVE software program and the EDITH AI assist that Praan offers ensures that your air is at all times clear. Furthermore, all upkeep is managed by us.”


Lastly, on the subject of buyers, suffice to say that Praan has to this point raised a complete of $1.9 million from VCs and Angel buyers starting from the New York-based Social Impression Capital, which, amongst others, has PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel as a backer. Moreover, they’re supported by Microsoft, Autodesk and the Marico Innovation Basis.  

Wanting forward, Angad has laid out his blueprint for the long run. 

“Praan began with the imaginative and prescient of constructing the long run extra thrilling by guaranteeing that clear air is accessible to all. We are going to scale to make industrial, dwelling, industrial, and out of doors merchandise in air purification and mapping—each in {hardware} and AI-run software program. We can even scale direct air removing of carbon dioxide outdoor and indoors for carbon credit score era and everlasting storage of CO2. Our bio-engineering group has and can proceed to rebuild ecosystems whereas guaranteeing greenhouse gasoline removing around the globe,” he says. 

(You’ll find out extra about and their work right here.)

(Edited by Padmashree Pande; Pictures courtesy Praan)