Editorial Feature

'Electric Vacuum' That Could Clean up Smog in China

Image Credits: Daan Roosegaarde

The issue surrounding smog, especially in China, looks set to run and run with many citizens wearing facemasks to ensure they don’t breath any of it in.

However, a solution looks to be on its way with Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde designing an “electric vacuum cleaner” like device that can “suck” out the smog from surrounding inner city areas.

The concept consisting of copper coils that are buried beneath the surface generate an electrostatic field.

This electrostatic field would then attract the smog particles to the ground to be cleaned creating pockets, of around 50-60 meters, of clear sky where people can then freely breathe and be able to see the sky.

The term ‘smog’ comes from a combination of the words ‘smoke’ and ‘fog’, and can be made up of a number of different chemical pollutants such as sulfur dioxides and nitrogen oxides common in coal plants typically seen in China.
 

Copper coils creating an electrostatic field can clear the smog creating pockets of clean air.

Copper coils creating an electrostatic field can clear the smog creating pockets of clean air. Image Credits: Daan Roosegaarde

This has raised cause for concern amongst many environmental groups with governments around the globe also taking more of stance on this. So the prospect of having a technology that could purify the smog filled air would be revolutionary to say the least.

Large scale smog removal would mean that the scale of this technology would most probably have to increase but steps are already being taken with Roosegaarde’s design with a prototype being produced and tested in an indoor facility at the University of Delft.

What’s more interesting is the potential market of large inner city areas such as Beijing whose mayor has already expressed an interesting following concern over the smog and general environmental problems.

SMOG - By Dutch Designer Daan Roosegaarde

Smog is a major problem in places such as China with some citizens wearing face-masks. Credits: Daan Roosegaarde with Studio Roosegaarde and experts Bob Ursem (TU Delft) and ENS Europe.
Testing of smog system has been ongoing with results looking to make pockets of air of around 50-60m in diameter. Credits: Daan Roosegaarde with Studio Roosegaarde and experts Bob Ursem (TU Delft) and ENS Europe.
This technology could be revolutionary for places like Beijing. Credits: Daan Roosegaarde with Studio Roosegaarde and experts Bob Ursem (TU Delft) and ENS Europe.
Copper coils buried underground create an electrostatic field that draws the particles to the ground creating pockets of clean air. Credits: Daan Roosegaarde with Studio Roosegaarde and experts Bob Ursem (TU Delft) and ENS Europe.
Kris Walker

Written by

Kris Walker

Kris has a BA(hons) in Media & Performance from the University of Salford. Aside from overseeing the editorial and video teams, Kris can be found in far flung corners of the world capturing the story behind the science on behalf of our clients. Outside of work, Kris is finally seeing a return on 25 years of hurt supporting Manchester City.

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