Air quality is paramount for public health and ecological well-being. It has a direct bearing on the prevalence of diseases, premature deaths, and health problems in communities. Additionally, air pollution can result in ecological degradation, deforestation, and desertification. Improving air quality can reverse some health issues, prevent others, and especially protect vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, children, and the elderly. Moreover, indoor air quality can significantly impact health and well-being, given the amount of time people spend indoors.
These challenges have only been highlighted by recent air quality problems plaguing cities in the Northeastern United States due to the wildfires in Canada, which have prompted healthcare providers and authorities to take action.
In light of these challenges, various companies have pioneered innovative solutions to combat air pollution and improve air quality. Among these, Deep Branch, LanzaTech, and Neoplants stand out for their unique approaches and impactful contributions.
Deep Branch, a biotechnology start-up based in the United Kingdom, has designed an innovative solution that capitalizes on renewable carbon and energy sources to create ingredients for a sustainable food system. Proton, their flagship product, is a single-cell protein tailored for the animal feed industry.
Employing their proprietary gas fermentation platform, ®evolve, Deep Branch uses carbon dioxide and hydrogen to feed their non-GMO microbes. This process results in the production of high-value products, with Proton being one of the most notable examples. Produced with a dramatically smaller carbon footprint compared to other market products, Proton promises security, transparency, and traceability.
Proton is also 60% less carbon-intensive than conventional proteins. Moreover, its production requires no arable land, significantly reducing the food industry’s impact on biodiversity loss. As such, Deep Branch’s groundbreaking approach offers a sustainable solution for feeding our growing global population while concurrently lowering carbon emissions.
Headquartered in the United States, LanzaTech is another noteworthy company working towards improving air quality. They have developed a novel technology that captures emissions before they escape into the air and diverts them into bioreactors. In these bioreactors, microorganisms ferment the gases into ethanol.
The ethanol, in turn, serves as a raw material for a multitude of products, ranging from clothes to airplane fuel. Currently, LanzaTech operates three ethanol plants in China utilizing this technology. To date, they have produced over 40 million gallons of ethanol, which equates to offsetting 200,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
This unique approach of capturing and repurposing carbon emissions presents a compelling potential solution for mitigating the environmental impacts of calamitous events like wildfires.
Lastly, the Paris-based company Neoplants is harnessing bioengineering and directed evolution to create “plants with a purpose”. Their inaugural product—Neo P1—is a genetically modified houseplant designed to combat indoor air pollution by absorbing and recycling volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, and xylene.
Neo P1, modeled on the Ivy-like Pothos plant, boasts the air purification capabilities of 30 regular plants. Given that indoor air pollution can often exceed outdoor air pollution, Neoplants’ innovative solution plays a crucial role in improving indoor air quality.
Their approach, offering a practical and visually pleasing solution to the pervasive issue of indoor air pollution, demonstrates the importance of biotechnology in creating healthier indoor environments.
Moving Toward Improved Air Quality
Companies like Deep Branch, LanzaTech, and Neoplants are making significant strides toward improving air quality and mitigating the impacts of air pollution. By employing innovative biotechnologies, they are helping to create a healthier environment for all. Their efforts underline the transformative potential of technology in combating pressing environmental issues and promoting sustainable practices.