World's largest 'smog vacuum' opens in Rotterdam

The world's first ever smog-absorbing tower, designed to provide pockets of clean air in polluted cities, opened on Friday in the Netherlands.

The tower runs off of 1400 watts of green energy and is able to produce smog free diamond jewellery, the equivalent of 1000m3 of clean air

The tower runs off of 1400 watts of green energy and is able to produce smog free diamond jewellery, the equivalent of 1000m3 of clean air

The seven metre-high tower, described by its makers Studio Roosegarde as the’ largest smog vacuum in the world’, uses patented ion technology to clean 30,000 cubic metres of air an hour.

The tower runs off of 1,400 watts of green energy and is able to produce smog-free diamond jewellery, which holds the equivalent of 1000 cubic metres of clean air.

The tower replicates vacuum and ventilation systems currently used by hospitals, by drawing in dirty air from the surrounding environment and using small electric currents to release charged ions into the air that latch onto the smog particles, pulling them back into the tower. The output air is up to 75% cleaner than the city air.

Spreading the message

On the tower's Kickstarter page (which raised almost €30,000 more than the €50,000 target) Dan Roosegarde, founder of Studio Roosegarde said: “The aim of this project is to make smog more tangible to people and to reduce waste.

"By compressing the filtered smog particles, we can create awesome and unique jewellery. Each Smog Free Cube literally contains the smog out of 1000 cubic meters of air. It’s a beautiful way of carrying the message of this project with you and perceiving the tangible environmental impact you’ve made by supporting this project.

“The Smog Free Tower is the first step of the Smog Free Movement: our dream of a clean future in which people work together to stop pollution. We believe that the Smog Free Tower provides a unique opportunity to get people to understand the issue of air pollution through direct experience. The bubble of clean air that the Smog Free Tower generates will be a place that brings people together to work and think about how we can free our cities of smog.”

City of sustainability

Roosegarde hopes that Rottedam is just the first stop for the Smog Free Tower, with cities such as Beijing, Mexico City and Paris lined-up as potential visiting spots.

The Smog Free Tower is just one of the many schemes that have recently appeared in Rotterdam. The Dutch Windwheel converts wind energy into electricity without moving parts and hopes to become ‘the sustainable icon of the future’.

Other innovative projects include roads and parks made from 100% recycled plastic, and a floating farm.

Air pollution

Innovations like the Smog Free Tower help publicise the growing issue of poor urban air quality. Last month researchers at Berkeley Earth revealed that 4,000 people died each day in China because of air pollution.

Last week 10 cities across Europe including London launched a project campaigning to get citizens to monitor air pollution using their smartphones.

Matt Mace


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