The exponential growth of industries and technology has led to the problem of pollution and has become so intense in densely populated areas that it can be observed with a naked eye. This pollution has quite a devastating effect on human health. Meet Artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde who claims that the smog level in the Netherlands has reduced the average life expectancy in the country by nine months. As per him, the human society needs to do a lot more to make these modern cities ‘livable’ again.
In the essence of this belief, he and his team have come up with the world’s largest ‘smog vacuum cleaner’ known as Smog Free Tower. It was developed following collaboration between Studio Roosegaarde, ENS Europe, Bob Ursem from the Delft University of Technology and Smog Free Movement Crowd on Kickstarter. The project has also received support from the City of Rotterdam, the Port of Rotterdam, Eneco and the DOEN Foundation.
The project is aimed at promoting clean skies in urban environments by creating ‘smog free bubble’ in public spaces thus allowing folks to breathe and experience pure clean air free of charge. Apart from being a solution to the local air pollution, it also works to provide sensory experience thus allowing people to feel what the smog-free future would be like. The project was launched on 4th September in Rotterdam during a ceremony that was attended by the Mayor, Ahmed Aboutaleb by Mr. Roosegaarde. The Smog Free Tower works by making use of patented ion technology. The prototype device has a height of 7 meters and is capable of cleaning 30,000 cubic meters of air per hour while only utilizing electricity comparable to a water boiler and runs on green energy. It was funded via Kickstarter campaign that was launched on 22nd July 2015. It is currently situated at a garden at Vierhavensstraat 52 in Rotterdam.
Mr. Roosegaarde said, “It’s the largest smog vacuum cleaner in the world. It sucks up the polluted air from the top and purifies it via positive ionization, charging neutral small particles, the negative ion surface attracts the smog, with positive ions, they can be positively charged. The clean air gets spit out below and that creates a bubble of fresh air. It’s mobile, so we can transport it in a day and a half or so.”
The smog level is determined by making use of an air quality index that was developed by governments to compare the pollution’s amount from different locations. “So for example, where I am right now in Schipol in Amsterdam, its 33” Roosegaarde explains. “When its 50 in the Netherlands you have to stop building roads and stuff like that because it’s too bad for people. I think when its above 18 or 20, the United Nations already says it’s not healthy anymore. The goal is to purify air as much as possible, that’s what the focus is on.”
Mr. Roosegaarde intends to introduce this to Beijing, Mumbai, Mexico City, Paris and Los Angeles. He said, “Those cities are our top five right now. But it’s growing. In the beginning, people say “it’s not possible” and so on, but now, with innovation and everything, we finally have it, people are starting to wake up and so that’s good news. Of course, it’s not the real solution. That comes with clean technology and electrical cars. But I don’t want to wait, I want to operate now and I think by showing what the future could look like, could smell like, could feel like, that creates an intensive connection, to make sure that these great designs are not necessary anymore in 10-12 years.”