Coming to a neighborhood near you is the 7 meters (23 feet) tall air purifier that purifies approximately 1 million cubic feet of air every hour. This is the Smog Free Tower. The capital’s pollution woes are well documented in all major and local media outlets as a health problem that the government is keen on tackling. Despite reports that the air is improving, such as the one from Greenpeace, it can sometimes not feel that way. As of late last month, the Beijing government is working with the Smog Free Project as a testing site for the Smog Free Tower in the coming months.
The tower is the brain child of Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde who, after visiting Beijing and was sad to see a highly polluted day keep most people indoors, started to think about ways of helping make the air outside cleaner. The Smog Free Tower is a collaboration among Roosegaarde, Delft Technology University researcher Bob Ursem, and European Nano Solutions, a green tech company in the Netherlands.
The project was first piloted in Rotterdam park, Netherlands, according to an article on Wired.com. “Roosegaarde has been working with Ursem and ENS, the company that fabricated the tower, for two years to bring it into existence, and now it’s up and running,” said the article. Last year, he was talking to officials in Mumbai, Mexico City, and Beijing. And as of last month, the Beijing government is said to be on board to test the capabilities of the new technology according to an article on the World Economic Forum.
Now though, in the city where he conceived the idea, and with the help of the Beijing government, Roosegaarde has launched his project in China.
The towers suck up polluted air, and clean it, releasing it back into parks and playgrounds. And according to Roosegaarde, these areas are 70-75% cleaner than the rest of the city.
Following Beijing, the project is set to tour other Chinese cities.
How does smog get turned into diamonds?
Smog is made up of carbon, and carbon also makes diamonds. According to the WEF report, “32% of Beijing’s smog is carbon, which under 30 minutes of pressure can be turned into diamonds.” Proceeds from the sale of the diamonds will go to fund more smog towers. Watch the video here of the Roosegaarde World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2016 (VPN needed as videos are hosted on YouTube).
Our sister publication scored an interview with Roosegaarde last year as the Smog Free Tower was all the buzz.
Skepticism is very much alive as the testing in a more polluted city starts on the point of how often does the purifier need to be cleaned and what does that translate to in terms of cold hard cash. The studies of good and bad points are definitely something everyone will wait to see but for the meantime people can enjoy a day out during high AQI readings.
Sources: WEF, Smog Free Project