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08/12/2016 Comments (0) Architecture, Environment, Other

A tower for aspirating urban pollution

For a number of weeks, smog has been invading Europe. Nitrogen oxides, ammonia, fine particles, black carbon, etc. are suspended in the air, blackening building façades and, above all, finding their way deep into our lungs and blood. Atmospheric pollution alone is responsible for the premature death of half a million people in Europe every year – one out of every nine deaths in the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Its effects on health are multiple: allergies, asthma, and respiratory diseases, as well as lung cancer or stroke. Unfortunately, the means of limiting the consequences, road space rationing, city toll, lowering of maximum speeds – are often insufficient or very limited.

A mechanism created by the Dutch designer Daan Roosegarde and a team of experts may, however, offer a sustainable solution against particles: the Smog Free Tower. Installed in Beijing at the end of October, this seven-meter tower aspirates pollution and “cleans” up to 30,000m3 of air per hour. Which is the equivalent of the surface area of a football stadium in one day.

In practice, the tower operates like an ultra-powerful vacuum cleaner: it sucks in the air, collects 75% of fine PM2.5 and PM10 particles via an ionising process that uses static electricity, then discharges purified air around 360°. The residue collected is then compressed and transformed into black dust, which artists use to make jewellery.

After 41 days of activity, the procedure, which consumes no more energy than a kettle, is expected to have cleaned 30,000,000m3 of Beijing air. Persuaded that “vacuuming pollution is the only solution at least in the short term”, Daan Roosegaarde, the creator of the project, hopes to install his tower in various Peking parks where the concentration of fine particles is 35 times higher than the rate recommended by the WHO.

In a similar vein, another Dutch start-up, Envinity Group, has just unveiled an even more imposing system: an enormous 8-m-long steel tube that can be installed above buildings. Here again, fine and ultra-fine particles are filtered out. This system is expected to be capable of aspirating air from within a 300-m radius and cleaning 800,000m3 of air per hour. Another advantage: it is designed to process an even wider spectrum of particles present in the air, including 95% of nanoparticles – the most dangerous to man.

For a number of weeks, smog has been invading Europe. Nitrogen oxides, ammonia, fine particles, black carbon, etc. are suspended in the air, blackening building façades and, above all, finding their way deep into our lungs and blood. Atmospheric pollution alone is responsible for the premature death of half a million people in Europe every year – one out of every nine deaths in the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Its effects on health are multiple: allergies, asthma, and respiratory diseases, as well as lung cancer or stroke. Unfortunately, the means of limiting the consequences, road space rationing, city toll, lowering of maximum speeds – are often insufficient or very limited.

  • Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
    Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
  • Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
    Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
  • Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
    Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
  • Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
    Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
  • Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
    Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
  • Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
    Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
  • Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
    Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
  • Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
    Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
  • Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
    Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
  • Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
    Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
  • Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
    Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
  • Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
    Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
  • Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
    Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
  • Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
    Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
  • Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
    Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
  • Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
    Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
  • Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
    Daan Roosegarde's Smog Free Tower
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