Project Koyash

As climate change accelerates ahead of us, its effects have wiped out major food sources for nomadic communities in Mongolia- forcing them to migrate south into the congested city of Ulaanbaatar. The population of the city grew from about 800,000 to a million individuals within only one decade. Due to the population growth, government officials have been unable to maintain the requisite resources needed for housing. Consequently, communities have settled in the outskirts of town, which are disconnected from the electrical grid. Families live in mobile homes, often referred to as “yurts” to escape ferocious winters as cold as negative 22 degrees Fahrenheit. Coal is burned within the homes to keep families warm, since the yurts have no access to electricity. The combustion of coal, however, emits toxins that infect the lungs of those who are using it simply to stay alive. The nomadic communities of Ulaanbaatar are experiencing a pandemic of unsafe air quality. Local hospitals have had an increase in numbers of patients by 250 percent in the last decade. Children as young as 5 to 7 years old have been reported to have lungs comparable to those of a 40-year-old cigarette smoker. Our team of students from Ira A. Fulton schools of Engineering at Arizona state University became driven to provide communities in Ulaanbaatar with safe, clean air. We have designed an solar-powered air filtration system that can autonomously clean air qualities of up to double the AQI (air quality index) of the considered levels in Ulaanbaatar within a fraction of an hour. The system was successfully tested by our team in the Spring of 2021, and has now been received by the community in Mongolia. We plan to develop and provide insulation for the yurts to lessen the need for coal to be burned inside the homes. This in addition to our filter contributes to a three-pronged solution for the people of Ulaanbaatar, providing families with power, heat, and clean air. With one unit already delivered to Mongolia, our team has begun the deployment phase. We plan to continue testing our system, and to manufacture and send 12 units total to Ulaanbaatar. No child should face yet another pandemic that is waiting to infect the first breath they take. We believe our filtration system will aid families by providing something they desperately need-clean air.