Pollution in general has become a very serious public health issue. The World Health Organization estimates that air pollution causes around 4.2 million premature deaths each year. In Mexico, air pollution kills more than 49,000 people a year. To respond to this challenge, the young Mexican biologist, Carlos Monroy, decided to use his scientific knowledge and fight against this pressing issue.
His answer was found in nature, concretely in algae and its capacity to filter the air. The focus of Monroy is the creation of smart carbon sinks through bio reactors made of algae that are able to purify air particles. This purifying action happens through another natural process: photosynthesis. For this breakthrough Monroy became a winner in the Latin American Innovators under 35 from the MIT Technology Review LATAM edition.
To put his project in motion, Monroy founded Biomitech, an enterprise based on innovation and development focused on the solution of environmental problems through processes inspired by nature. Its products are already being used in gas stations and some of the most polluting industries. In gas stations, his filters absorb the vapors coming from petrol and turn them into biomass. Additionally, to reduce the pollution of factories, Biomitech uses bio reactors that are set in chimneys that emit pollution and proceed to purify the air waste. The algae fixate to the carbon particles present in the air. This way they mitigate the effects of the current climatic crisis.
The young scientist details, "The problem of air quality is a global matter that in the future is going to have great importance, but no one is generating sustainable comprehensive solutions. We believe, as a team, that the implementation of microalgae along with other technologies can reduce air pollution and the number of people affected by all the diseases associated with the same. We must apply solutions on all levels. We have to stop polluting and reduce the impact carbon sinks have nowadays.” Monroy is looking to achieve bigger bio reactors capable of filtering more air quantity and reduce even more the atmospheric pollution. He also hopes to apply the project in more cities and countries. For the time being, Biomitech is already working in Puebla and Monterrey, Mexico, Panama, and Medellín, Colombia.
The Physics professor of the University of the Andes, Colombia, Carlos Ávila Bernal, a member of the jury for the 2019 Latin American Innovators under 35, thinks Monroy “shows a clear innovation trajectory and his project has a great potential for success as well as a hugely positive impact on society."