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In September 2015, we reported on a Netherlands-based artist and innovator named Daan Roosegaarde, who was on a mission to install 23-foot-tall “Smog Free Towers” in cities with the most polluted air.
What made the concept even more intriguing was that the super-sized air purifiers conceived by Roosegaarde and his team of experts would be partly financed by the sale of jewelry made from the compressed smog particles captured by The Towers.
A little more than one year later, Roosegaarde's dream has become a reality as one of his “Smog Free Towers” made its debut in the Chinese capital of Beijing.
According to Roosegaarde, the tower sucks up polluted air, processes it on the nano level via positive ionization and then releases the clean air back into the city. The Towers create smog-free bubbles of public space, which boast air quality 75% more clean than the rest of the city.
Each Smog Free Tower is capable of processing 30,000 cubic meters of air per hour. The device runs on green wind energy and uses no more electricity than a water boiler (1170 watts).
Inspired by the fact that diamonds are composed of carbon, Roosegaarde came up with the idea of using high pressure to form the carbon pollutants into a square black “gemstone” that can be set onto a fashionable ring or cufflink. Each Smog Free Cube is encased in clear resin and measures 8.4mm. The jewelry is made of stainless steel and costs about $270.
Each cube represents the purification of 1,000 cubic meters of air. One Smog Free Tower will be capable of producing 300 Smog Free Cubes per day if it runs 10 hours per day.
"The Smog Free Project is about the Smog Free Tower providing clean air, but it's also about the Smog Free Ring creating an engagement and making the people in China part of the solution, instead of just feeling part of the problem," Roosegaarde told Reuters.
“We warmly welcome the Smog Free Project to Beijing. This project is key in our agenda to promote clean air as a 'green lifestyle' among Chinese citizens," said Liu Guozheng, Secretary-General of The China Forum of Environmental Journalists. "Our goal is to guide the public to a healthier lifestyle, low carbon development and to raise awareness amongst the public and reduce smog.”
The Smog Free Project in China has earned the support of the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection.
China has earmarked $2.6 trillion for environmental protection between 2016 and 2020, according to state news agency Xinhua. That's positive news for Roosegaarde, who expects to add hundreds of Smog Free Towers throughout the world's most populous nation. China's population stands at 1.36 billion.
Last year's Kickstarter campaign for the Smog Free Project yielded €113,153 (about $123,000), an amount more than double the initial goal of €50,000.
Credits: Images via StudioRoosegaarde.net.