Air-Purifying Tower Removes Pollutants
What has been dubbed the “world’s biggest air purifier” is making a positive impact on air quality and pollution, according to preliminary studies.
The 328-foot-tall tower, located in northern China, is part of a venture into removing pollutants artificially from the air. Researchers from the Institute of Earth Environment at the Chinese Academy of Sciences are overseeing the tower’s operation.
Air Purifier Tower
Located in Xian, in the Shaanxi province, the tower has been responsible for improvements in air quality over 3.86 square miles, noted head researcher Cao Junji. Since launch, the tower has created more than 353 million cubic feet of clean air per day. This means that, on severely polluted days, smog has been reduced to moderate levels.
To function, polluted air is sucked through a greenhouse that’s roughly half the size of a soccer field at the tower’s base. Solar energy then heats the air, which rises and passes through multiple cleaning filters.
Even with reduced light in the winter months, the tower is still functional thanks to coatings on the greenhouse that enable the glass to absorb radiation at a higher rate of efficiency.
After a preliminary analysis of the air around the tower, Junji’s research team discovered that during periods of heavy pollution, there was a 15 percent reduction in PM2.5, the fine particles in smog that have the largest negative impact on health.
These results are preliminary, however, as the study is still ongoing. More detailed data is slated to be released in March.
The smog tower project started as a trial run in 2015, and construction was completed last year. The cost was not disclosed.
The research team hopes to build a full-sized version of the tower in other cities in China. Each would stand 1,640 feet high, with a diameter of 656 feet. The greenhouse would cover 11.6 square miles, and all together, the tower would be able to purify the air of a small city.
Another tower with a similar goal was constructed in Beijing in 2016. Designed and built by Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde and his team, the tower stands just over 22 feet tall.