The U.S Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a new competition in a bid to find ways to reduce air pollution from wildfires.
The goal of the competition is to solicit ideas for low-cost air cleaning technologies that reduce air pollution inside homes during a wildfire or other high pollution episodes.
If their ideas are chosen, the challenge winners will receive up to $10,000.
Wildfires release many pollutants that are unsafe to breathe. Particulate matter (PM2.5) is one of the main components of wildfire smoke and is a known health risk.
According to the EPA, current air cleaning have multiple limitations, from the cost of purchase to their dependence on electrical power – which can be disrupted by wildfires.
Therefore, this challenge aims to encourage the development of affordable and sustainable approaches, technologies, or technology combinations for keeping indoor air as clean as possible during periods of high pollution.
Jennifer Orme-Zavaleta, the acting assistant administrator for the Office of Research and Development and the agency’s Acting Science Advisor, said: ‘As we work to address the public health threat from large and more intense wildfires in our country, particularly in our western states, we call on all innovators to provide ideas and solutions for new and low-cost technologies or approaches to reduce indoor air pollution during wildfires.
‘This challenge will help protect public health by stimulating the development of effective air cleaning devices that are accessible to all communities during wildfires or other air pollution events.’
The challenge is now open, and proposals will be accepted through May 17, 2021.
To learn more about the challenge and how to apply, visit: https://www.epa.gov/air-research/cleaner-indoor-air-during-wildfires-challenge
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