Review: Kunak Air PRO – Ambient Air Quality Monitor

Time to talk seriously about ambient air pollution and how technology can help us see and consequently mitigate it. According to a 2016 report, the annual cost of air pollution has to the global health care system has risen to US$ 176 billion from US$ 21 billion in 2015 and the number of workdays lost to air pollution-related illness bounces to 3.7 billion from 1.2 billion. According to another report, ambient air pollution kills more than 3 million people across the globe every year but more importantly causes health problems that increase the annual health care budget.

Unfortunately, air pollution is not taken very seriously by governments and society because we tend to dismiss things we can’t see or understand. Here comes Kunak which is one of the leading companies in the field of monitoring air pollution accurately. Recently, the monitor Kunak Air PRO has been rewarded at the AirLab Challenge 2021 as the most accurate multi-pollutant ambient monitor and it is made in Spain.

Experts, academics, the city, and policymakers all need air quality monitors in order to quantify the ambient air, get the right conclusions about the situation, and finally, make the right decision on how to mitigate the pollution and the health care costs. As you can understand the accuracy of the monitor is very crucial and Kunak delivers great results.

Specifications of my Configuration

  • 4 Gas Cartridges Sensors plus a PM Sensor
    1. PM1,  PM2.5, and  PM10
    2. NO2
    3. NO
    4. O3
    5. CO
    6. Temperature / Humidity / Pressure
  • 3G/4G/LTE
  • GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, and BEIDOU
  • Power Adapter (Industrial and Domestic)
  • Anemometer
  • Built-in Battery
  • Weather Shield IP65
  • Up to 3 ports for external sensors or modules
  • Weight 3,5 kg

The monitor can support up to 5 gas sensors (CO, CO2, NO, NO2, O3, SO2, H2S, NH3, and VOCs) in the form of exchangeable cartridges which are individually calibrated at Kunak’s lab. You don’t need to send back the whole monitor once the lifespan of a sensor is expired but you just take it off and you plug the new one(s). Ridiculously easy and inexpensive without losing time on downtime thanks to the plug and play mechanism.

Kunak can calibrate the sensors to your specific needs. For example, for locations with high humidity due to the climatological conditions sensors need special treatment/algorithms to match measurements against reference monitors, this is what Kunak offers.

The built-in battery is excellent to run the device off-grid or to make sure the AQ station runs 24/7 without interruptions due to external failures of the electric grid. The monitor supports a solar panel, however, I didn’t get one to review but I am sure it works perfectly well. Mine lasted for 3 days.

My Kunak Air PRO came with an anemometer which you may think doesn’t add value but believe me, when you know the direction of the wind you know the origin of the pollution as the wind can bring pollution from different places or even countries (transboundary air pollution).

The monitor supports bidirectional communication which means it can be updated over the air, calibrated, and managed remotely.

Subscribe to get access to various comparisons

Consider subscribing in order to access the comparison results between Kunak Air PRO and a well-known Pro competitor. In addition, I compare the measurements from Kunak Air PRO against low-cost monitors PurpleAir-II and Sensor.Community DIY.

Dashboard

No more R? Well, the dashboard supports advanced analytics to generate all kinds of graphs similar to what you can do with R but without the need to know any programming language. However, you can always export the measurements for local modeling with the software of your choice.

The administrator of the dashboard can keep records of everything with the Computerized Maintenance Management. He/she can log the location of the monitor, sensor changes, malfunctions, calibrations, and many more events and changes.

My Experience

I like the fact the outer case of the monitor is white as it reflects heat from the sunlight and the sensors are stored inside a metal cage for security reasons (not to be stolen) and to ensure better stability of the electronics as it inhibits interference.

I wish it had a handle for easy manipulation of the monitor especially when you have to climb a ladder and install the monitor. However, the monitor has an easy-to-install mechanism but it’s a bit uncomfortable to hold and lift the monitor up.

There is a small screen under the monitor that I found very handy when I was in the field and couldn’t access the dashboard. You can see the measurements of the sensors even of the anemometer’s readings, battery, etc. Very neat!

Conclusion

All in all, the only thing cities, policymakers, and researchers have to do is to choose the sensors for the setting of the deployment and Kunak will deliver the product to them. The monitor and the dashboard are super robust and easy to use as you don’t need to learn complex programming languages or specific software packages in order to understand what the AQ data reveal. This is very important for the smart cities which want to ensure healthy air for the dwellers.

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