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A Tower That Fights Smog Is Waging a Battle in China

Smog Free Tower cleans up air within 65 feet of it
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2017 10:38 AM CDT

(Newser) – With pollution levels in pockets of India and China reaching deadly levels, innovators around the world are designing and engineering ways to fight the war on smog. One device, a 23-foot-tall wind-powered air purifier called the Smog Free Tower, sucks in air from its surroundings and filters out tiny pollution particles that might otherwise find a home in our lungs. Designed by Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde in 2015, it was installed in Beijing in 2016 and found to be not all that helpful in a test conducted by the China Forum of Environmental Journalists. But a scientist has conducted new tests on the tower, now installed in a field in Tianjin, and says that it actually outperforms previous findings, capturing up to 70% of PM10 and 25% of PM2.5 (two pollution particles), reports Fast Company.

Roosegaarde says that while the tower only has a limited impact on the air 65 feet around it (when filtered air is combined with surrounding air, the effect is air containing 45% less PM10, per the new test), the smog-fighting tower could still provide relief and become part of a longer-term solution. Under the larger Smog Free Project, he's also designing bicycles that spit out positively charged ions that capture pollutants, reports Digital Trends. Roosegaarde says his team is building a prototype and hopes to develop a partnership between the Netherlands and China to install the bikes into local bike-sharing programs such as Mobike. (California is home to eight of the 10 US cities with the worst air pollution.)

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