Meet Ben Sammut, a 24-year-old local engineer fresh out of University who has received several awards in Scotland for coming up with a unique device that filters and improves air quality for those who work from home!
Sammut recently graduated as a product design engineer from the University of Glasgow and Glasgow School of Art. His air filter, named Alka, quite literally inhales a person’s carbon dioxide in order to produce oxygen! And it works so long as the user “feeds it” by keeping it by their side as they go about their workday.
Alka uses an alga – spirulina – to capture the CO2, which is a pollutant linked to loss of concentration. After two weeks, the device can then be used to water plants.
Alka actually started off as Sammut’s course project, for which he was awarded Best Project Certificate from the Scottish Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He was then awarded the GU68 Engineers Trust Award, which provided the funding for his project.
He even received the Agnes Rhind Bursary for his course result as the second-ranked mechanical engineer graduate from the mechanical engineering, product design engineering or mechanical design engineering degree programmes.
Alka was displayed on a billboard in Glasgow City Centre as an advert for the Glasgow School of Art degree, as a showcase of an exhibition of students’ work.
This came after Sammut realised how most people lack awareness when it comes to the subject of indoor air quality. As he shared to local sources: ‘In a way, I tried to make the invisible more visible.’, as he spoke about the importance of indoor air quality.
The project took nine months to finish, but it is yet to be developed further through real-world testing.