Air Purifying “Towers” to Come to Beijing

World’s largest air purifier takes on China’s smog. The Smog Free Tower will arrive in China in September, starting with Beijing will create bubbles of clean air in inner-city parks and, Roosegaarde hopes, raise awareness of the dangers of air pollution.

Olans air purifier OLS-K04 1

When artist Daan Roosegaarde visited Beijing in 2014, he was inspired by what he didn’t see.
From his hotel room on the 32nd floor, his view of the sprawling Chinese capital was totally obscured by smog.
“It was all gone,” Roosegaarde says. “The city was completely covered with smog.”
Two years later, he is taking the world’s largest air purifier on a tour of China.
The Smog Free Tower will create bubbles of clean air in inner-city parks and, Roosegaarde hopes, raise awareness of the dangers of air pollution.
Rabbits love clean air, too
The tower has just had a pilot run in Roosegaarde’s hometown of Rotterdam, where his company, Studio Roosegaarde, is headquartered.
It had a surprising effect on the local environment.
“For some reason, little rabbits find the space around the tower particularly intriguing. I don’t know why. Perhaps they can feel the difference,” he says.
Using ion technology, the tower attracts and captures the small pollution particles — PM2.5 and PM10 — and releases clean air, leaving the surrounding area with air that is about 75% cleaner, Roosegaarde says.
“Basically, it’s like when you have a plastic balloon, and you polish it with your hand, it becomes static, electrically charged, and it attracts your hair.”
The seven-meter high tower can clean around 30,000 cubic meters of air each hour, which Roosegaarde says is “a small neighborhood a day.” It runs on just 1,400 watts of power — no more than a tea kettle.
Could these towers save lives?
The tower will arrive in China in September, starting with Beijing.
The tour, a collaboration between Studio Roosegaarde and China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection, will decide its subsequent city stops in China based on the results of a public online vote.
After China, Roosegaarde plans to bring the tower around the world — Mexico City and India are destinations under consideration.
More than 80% of people in urban areas are exposed to air quality levels that exceed World Health Organization limits. As urban air quality declines, the risk of diseases such as strokes, heart disease, lung cancer, and asthma goes up.
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