The latest technology invention in environmental pollution is a tower that cleans outdoor air.

The latest technology invention in environmental pollution is a tower that cleans outdoor air.

The latest technology invention in environmental pollution is a tower that cleans outdoor air.

The Tower is a seven-metre (23 feet) high structure that removes ultra-fine particles from the air using a patented ion-technology developed by scientists at Delft University of Technology.

According to the World Health Organization, air pollution causes the greatest environmental threat to our health.

Air pollution causes respiratory and cardiovascular disease and accounts for over 7 million premature deaths every year – and that death toll is rising at an alarming rate.

los angeles pollution

In California, where residents suffer from the worst health impacts of dirty air in the United States, air pollution causes premature death for 53,000 residents every year.


In London, England, dirty air accounts for one out of every twelve deaths.

In Delhi, India, the average life expectancy is shortened by 6.3 years due to air pollution.image of london pollution

China has the worst air in the world. Beijing recently recorded pollution levels that were 17 times greater than the acceptable levels recommended by the World Health Organization.

Air pollution causes 1.6 million deaths every year in China – approximately 17% of all deaths.

For most countries, the deadliest form of air pollution is a fine particle known as “PM 2.5” (particulate matter 2.5). It is so named because it is a fine particle that is only 2.5 micrometers in diameter. Unlike larger air-borne particles that settle to the ground, PM 2.5 particles can float in the air for weeks.

When you breath these particles into your lungs , they penetrate your lung tissue and get absorbed unfiltered into your blood stream – causing damage to your body.

image of beijing pollution

The problem with current air pollution control systems is that they reduce but do not eliminate pollution.

Dutch innovator Daan Roosegaarde , in collaboration with ENS Technology and the Delft University of Technology, developed large scalable towers that remove pollution emitted into the air.

This technology was originally developed to remove MRSA bacteria (a type of bacteria resistant to antibiotics) from dust particles. The bacteria would spread from human to human by traveling in the air on dust. The air ionizer prevented the bacteria from spreading in this way.

Roosegaarde’s Tower cleans 30,000 cubic meters of air per hour without using ozone and uses about 1,400 Watts of electricity – less than a desk-top air purifier.

Air from the area surrounding the Tower is drawn into the structure. All airborne particles receive an electric charge.

The charged particles are captured and accumulate on large collector plates that have an opposite electric charge.

The clean air is then blown from the Tower back into the environment.

image smog free tower“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,” explains Roosegaarde.

The invention won the German Design Award for Excellent Product Design awarded by the German Ministry for Economics and Technology.

The Tower is currently being tested in Beijing by the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection.

“We’re working now on the calculation: how many towers do we actually need to place in a city like Beijing. It shouldn’t be thousands of towers, it should be hundreds. We can make larger versions as well, the size of buildings,” says Roosegaarde.

Sources: dx.doi.org; studioroosegaarde.net; who.int; bbc.com/future; creativecommons.org

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