Acting as a giant air purifier, this tower could help solve China’s pollution problem

The 23-ft tall tower operates almost entirely on wind energy.

October 12, 2016 |

Photo courtesy of The Smog Free Project

According to the World Health organization, around 2.4 million deaths that occur in China every year can be attributed to air pollution. The thick pollution found in many rapidly developing Chinese cities creates and exacerbates asthma and cardiovascular issues, resulting in premature death.

As Architectural Digest reports, new, stricter emissions regulations are stymieing the amount of dangerous particulate matter in the air, but pollution levels are still well above what is considered safe or acceptable.

If only someone could develop a scaled-up version of a common indoor air purifier that could be used to help purify the air outside, maybe some relief could finally come to many smog-filled cities. But that’s not plausible, is it? Well, apparently it is, as someone has done just that. A Netherlands-based team led by Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde has created what is essentially a 23-ft tall outdoor air purifier to help clean the air of some of the world’s most polluted cities.

The structure uses ion technology to attract about 30,000 cubic meters of pollution per hour and operates almost exclusively on wind energy. While the amount of pollution one of these towers can filter is just a drop in the bucket for China’s polluted cities, deploying them in large numbers around the country could create a significant impact. Similarly to photovoltaic solar panels, one may not provide much benefit, but when used in large numbers, their output increases exponentially.

In an effort to raise funds for the project, Roosegaarde launched a Kickstarter campaign where backers could receive cubes, rings, and cufflinks made from the compressed particulate matter, mainly carbon, collected from the filter. According to the Kickstarter page, each Smog Free ring acts as a symbol of 1000 cubic meters of clean air.

The campaign raised €113,153, easily surpassing its goal of €50,000. It is thanks to the funds raised through the Kickstarter campaign that allowed the Smog Free Project to travel and open in Beijing on Sept. 29. The filter will also travel to additional Chinese cities and is looking into traveling to India and other countries around the world, as well.

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