By Elton Gomes
In the northwestern Chinese city of Xian, the government has built a 328-foot-tall air purifier to help combat air pollution in the area. The tower has been built on an experimental basis and was undergoing testing by researchers from the Institute of Earth Environment at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The tower was built as part of the Xian smog tower project. The Chinese Academy of Sciences launched this project in 2015, and construction was completed in 2017 at a development zone in the Chang’an district. The project’s objective was to find an effective, low cost method to artificially remove pollutants from the atmosphere.
According to a scientist leading the project, the tower has brought about a noticeable improvement in air quality, as authorities try to come up with more ways to tackle China’s chronic smog problem.
The Institute of Earth Environment at the Chinese Academy of Sciences oversees the tower, and its effects are being closely monitored.
The tower uses more than a dozen sensors to track pollution levels. The tower’s air purifier has the ability to reduce the amount of the most dangerous particulates by 15 percent during heavy pollution.
How does it function?
The tower’s air purifying system comprises a series of specially-adapted greenhouses that are situated at the base of the tower. These greenhouse gases suck in polluted air and heat it using solar energy. The air then rises through layers of cleaning filters before it is released into the atmosphere.
A complete assessment of the tower’s performance is expected to be released later soon. Researchers already have plans to build a fully-functioning tower around five times larger thereafter.
The Xian tower experiment is similar to the Smog Free Project, which was created by Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde in 2016 as an effort to purify Beijing’s air.
The Smog Free Project involved two processes: First, a seven-metre-tall tower sucks up polluted air and cleans it at a nano-level. Second, the carbon from smog particles is converted into diamonds.
What changes have been observed?
Cao Junji is leading the team of researchers monitoring the tower. Cao said that improvements in air quality had been observed over an area of 10 square kilometres (3.86 square miles) in Xian city over the past few months.
Moreover, the tower managed to produce more than 10 million cubic metres (353 million cubic feet) of clean air every day since its launch. Cao further said that on severely polluted days the tower was able to bring down smog to moderate levels.
India to get its own smog-eating tower?
Delhi’s declining air quality has posed a serious problem. Can a massive air purifier help clean Delhi’s air? An Indian startup thinks so. Kurin Systems, an air purifier startup based in Gurugram, said it has plans to build a 40-feet tall air purifier.
The purifier will be able to provide clean air for nearly 75,000 people in a three-kilometer radius. The startup has claimed that the purifier can produce 32 million cubic meters of clean air. The purifier uses 48 fans and nine stages of filtration to pump out 1.3 million cubic meters of fresh air per hour.
The World Intellectual Property Organization recently granted a patent to Kurin Systems for “the world’s largest as well as the strongest air purifier.” In terms of size, the Kurin Sytems’ tower – known as ‘City Cleaner’ – is 12.9 meters tall and 6.1 meters wide. The company will need an additional space of 9.1 meters around the purifier to avoid accidents.
“This device can run solely on solar power as well. But we would need more space for it. We already have partners who are ready to help us with setting up solar panels. We ideally don’t want to use the power grid to make the tower eco-friendly,” Kurin Sytems’ co-founder Pavneet Singh Puri told the Next Web.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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