Rotterdam has place a new tower. But it’s not a new apartment building, measuring only seven meters height, and neither is any communication antenna or street furniture. It is an infrastructure designed to purify the air of the city, more specifically in the park where it is installed. The Smog Free Tower is a vertical structure that rises in an hexagon shape to absorb the surrounding air. After a chemical process returns the air with no pollutants.
This structure is the result of collaboration between the Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde, researcher Bob Ursem from Delft Technology University and the company European Nano Solutions, specialized in green technology. Their goal is to clear the air environment around. It is an experiment in order to give a solution, at least provisionally, to pollution that bother many cities.
The seven-meter high tower, installed in a park of Rotterdam, is able to clean around 28,320 cubic meters of air every hour. It is difficult to put into context this measure, but the truth is that after a day Smog Free Tower can clean enough air to fill football stadiums.
The tower technology allows air to be absorbed and separate the harmful particles from those that are not. Here comes the work of the investigator Bob Ursem, has been more than a decade doing ionization experiments. The tower leads the air into a chamber where the particles that are less than 15 microns in diameter are ionized positively. Afterwards, the positively charged particles are attracted to the floor of the tower, where they are attached to an auxiliary electrode. Then the structure is ready to return the air, clean and renovated.
The Smog Tower Free in Rotterdam is still in testing phase and has to prove itself, although its operation is working as intended. However, when the technology is proven it could be installed in other cities, such as Beijing, Mexico City, Paris or Mumbai, where the authorities have shown interest in the project. The designer Daan Roosegaarde, the main driver of the initiative, says it has rejected some offers to place towers in high class neighborhoods, because his idea is to be installed on public areas benefiting a city as a whole and not only one zone.
Images: Studio Roosegaarde