New Brunswick’s Air Clarity Solutions is launching the pilot program for its water-based industrial air filtration systems with clients in Atlantic Canada next week as founder Mike Rushton looks to make environments like auto body shops and boat building facilities safer for workers.

Rushton, an environmental technologist, was previously an automotive technician who specialized in restoring classic cars. But when he developed respiratory problems from air pollution associated with the job, he resolved to develop a better filtration system than the cumbersome, fabric-based filter technology that shops commonly rely on.

“I saw a business opportunity because I saw a neglected segment of the market,” said Rushton in an interview Tuesday. “A lot of these workshops, there’s not much attention being paid to innovation for this application of removing air pollution.

“So I saw a gap where innovation could occur, and could help take care of people in these industries.”

Air Clarity’s filter, the ACS Workflow 5000, will cost $15,000 to $20,000, but Rushton estimates that customers could save thousands annually by not having to purchase fabric filters — particularly since it can be difficult to gauge when those filters need changing. If a clogged filter continues to be used, it can lead to increased electricity consumption. Customers will also be able to choose between purchasing and leasing options.

Air Clarity Solutions CEO Mike Rushton

“(Air Clarity) is trying to eliminate a lot of the guesswork, and also the solid waste that’s generated by a lot of these dry collection fabric filter systems,” Rushton said. “You’re throwing away garbage bags and garbage bags of filthy filters that are filled with contaminants and going to the landfill.”

Last fall, Air Clarity was accepted into online startup incubator Propel’s Traction and Growth incubator, and before that was one of 16 finalists in the most recent Volta Cohort pitch competition from the Halifax startup hub.

Rushton plans to outsource manufacturing of the Workflow 5000, but to a partner within Atlantic Canada. He said being able to sell the system as Made in Canada is a priority for him.

So far, Rushton has been operating as a solo entrepreneur, but as production scales up and the Workflow 5000 starts to produce revenue, he plans to begin hiring.

“The overarching goal is to help people in the situation I was once in, and improve health and safety for workers, and environmental conditions, as well as productivity and efficiency for employers,” said Rushton.