28 October 2019

Interview with Pi Green Innovations, 3rd laureate of Smogathon 2018

Kamila Knap: Can you explain how your technology work? What kind of product and services your company offers? 

Irfan Pathan: We at Pi Green have invented a patented technology called ‘Carbon Cutter Technology’ to reduce PM emissions from vehicles / gensets /chimneys and ambient air. It is a one of its kind ‘Filterless’ technology for air purification which addresses a major issue of choking of filters in vehicles and air purifiers.

Can you tell a bit about yourself and your background? Why did you become a green entrepreneur? 

I come from a family of first generation entrepreneurs, hence entrepreneurship runs in my blood. After completing my Masters in Business Administration, I collaborated with my partners who are engineers to co found Pi Green. 

As per WHO, out of the Top 10 most polluting cities in the world, 7 are in India. Globally various technologies and methods to solve this problem have failed or not lived up to expectations.

Along with my partners, we saw the need to find a sustainable solution to address this gap with a practical and sustainable solution and we believe that the Carbon Cutter Technology has the potential to be one. 

Our business case is thus backed up by a solid technology which has the potential to provide better air for people to breathe.

What makes Carbon Cutter Machine innovative?

The Carbon Cutter is a ‘Filterless’ air purification device which captures PM emissions at source i.e PM being emitted from vehicles and gensets. Our recent tests with Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) have yielded over 90% efficiency.

Is your technology ready for the commercial market? How can you possibly apply it? 

The Anti Pollution Tower has been tested with SGS, India with 80% efficiency results and is ready for commercial use. We have already installed 2 pilots in Delhi and in the process of shipping 3 more to London.

The Carbon Cutter has been tested with the ARAI with more than 90% efficiency and is ready for commercial production. We are also in talks with a few auto OEMs to explore licensing opportunities.

What is the Pi Green Innovation’s business model? 

Pi Green’s business model is basically defined by 2 product categories;

  • Carbon Cutter, which is the Retrofit for vehicles and gensets
  • And Anti Pollution Tower, which is the Ambient air purifier

With regard to the Carbon Cutter, we intend to present our technology to Auto and Genset OEMs across the globe to explore licensing opportunities. With the advent of Euro VI in April 2020, there is going to be a need to tackle the emissions from existing vehicles and gensets that are already in operation. Governments are also looking for various retrofit options that can be installed to reduce emissions of existing vehicles. This poses a huge opportunity for OEMs in the after sales market that is waiting to be tapped.

We have developed a very interesting business model for the Anti Pollution Tower, wherein we have proposed various government bodies in India that we will install our towers for free in public places. SO HOW DOES PI GREEN MAKE MONEY? Through branding rights on these towers under B-O-T (Build, Oparate, Tansfer, note K.K.) with the government. We therefore provide cleaner Air to the public without using the Taxpayers money.

What do you think is the next level of anti-pollution innovations? 

There needs to be continuous innovation in the Solar energy space until such time that it becomes the sole source for electricity generation. This is necessary to reduce dependence on fossil fuels to generate electricity. 

What are the company’s future goals? 

Our immediate future goal is to make our ‘Filterless’ technology as the benchmark in air purification in India and globally. 

Going forward, we intend to be a part of the Smart City initiative undertaken by the Govt. of India by introducing our solutions through various govt. projects. 

Our motto has always been to curb PM pollution at its source which is majorly contributed by vehicular and genset emissions (in India – editors remark). By presenting our technology and solutions to OEMs and govts. In India and globally we believe we are on the path to contribute to this ‘Global Movement’ against Air Pollution.

Any advice for those who are about to start their entrepreneurial journey?

My only advice will be to look at the ‘Bottom of the Pyramid’. There’s a huge population there and there’s a business case in solving even the smallest of their problems.

Irfan Pathan

Irfan Pathan (Pi Green Innovations) and Richard Greenwood (expert) at Krakow Finals


What is your approach to climate crisis? Do you think there is still a way to stop it?

There will always be a way to stop all kinds of pollution. The most important factor in achieving this is ‘The Willingness of The Government and People’ in general.

Irfan Pathan - completed his education in Pune with a degree in MBA Finance. A serial entrepreneur for the last 10 years with experience in various fields ranging from mining, exports, FMCG to Clean Tec, Irfan has come up with Pi Green Tech Solutions along with Zuber Shaikh and Rijwan Shaikh.