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Project converting farm waste to fuel wins Polish anti-smog competition

TVN24 News in English

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A company that has developed a cheap way of converting farm waste to cooking fuel won first prize at Smogathon 2018, a competition looking for innovative solutions to air pollution, at an award ceremony in Kraków on Monday.

Takachar, founded by academics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, provides reactors that burn unusuable plant material from farming and forestry and turn them into a cheap and non-toxic cooking fuel the company calls 'eco-char'.

Co-founder Vidyut Mohan says because the leftover material from farming is perceived as having no value it is burned in the open, worsening smog problems in developing countries such as India.

The company has been testing its technology in Kenya, and says the converters it uses are low cost and can be easily manufactured in rural communities.

Six companies were in the running for the top prize at Smogathon's 2018 edition.

CATiO2, a company started by engineering students in Chile, has developed a transparent film which founder Jose Luis Galaz Ortiz says can be used to clean air inside or outside buildings using sunlight to break up harmful air pollutants.

British company Airlabs has developed 'Airbubbl', a product that cleans the air inside vehicles which could help protect young children and anyone who spends long periods of time in a car, according to Airlabs representative Carl Meusinger.

Smogathon was founded in 2015 in Kraków, starting as a day-long event to develop innovative ways to fight smog which is a particular problem in Poland.

The event has grown in scale, and in 2018 selected its six finalists from international semi-final events in Brazil, China, India, Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Smogathon representative Kamila Knap says the competition focuses on short-term solutions that can make people's lives easier in polluted environments.

Eliminating air pollution altogether requires tackling the source of the pollution itself, Knap says.

Autor: gf / Źródło: TVN24 International, Reuters

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