In northern China, Shaanxi province is located the tallest air purifier in the world. It’s an experimental tower that standing at over 328 feet high. The researchers at the Institute of Earth Environment at the Chinese Academy of Sciences conducted some experiments to test the tower’s effectiveness. If they can prove it works well, this could be an excellent solution to fight against the nation’s chronic smog problem. The scientists say that there is a noticeable improvement in air quality, although this project requires additional testing.
There are greenhouses around the base of the tower that covers an area half the size of a soccer field. First, the tower sucks polluted air, which is heated up with solar energy, and then the air passes through multiple layers of cleaning filters.
“We have observed improvements in the air quality,” said Cao Junji, the head of research. “In the past few months, the tower managed to produce 353 million cubic feet of clean air over an area of 3.86 square miles. The tower also reduced smog close to moderate levels on severely polluted days”.
The majority of people in Xian use coal for heating, and that makes the wintertime a season of the most substantial amount of pollution. The scientists designed the tower to be fully functional during the winter months, and the coatings on the greenhouses enable to absorb solar radiation at higher efficiency.
“The tower required little power to run throughout the daylight hours, and we are happy because everything worked very well in the test run,” Cao said proudly.
Cao’s team set up a dozen pollution monitoring stations around the city that regularly check the results; it’s functionality over time as well as keeping tabs on the tower’s overall performance. According to the preliminary results, the average reduction in PM2.5 fell 15 percent during heavy pollution.
With this project, the scientists are trying to find an innovative, low-cost method to remove the pollutants from the air. There was a creative park in Beijing that was previously thought to be the giant smog tower in China. It was an idea by the Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde at 798. This tower was only 23 feet high and produced 282.5 cubic feet of clean air per second.
In the future, Cao and his team hope to build smog towers (like the one in Xian) in the other cities around China. According to a patent application, a full-sized tower would be 1640 feet high and a diameter of 656 feet. The size of the greenhouses could cover an area of 11.6 square miles, which means they will enable them to purify the air for a small-sized city.
Several people from Xian gave testimonials to the South China Morning Post. They noticed an improvement in the air even though they were previously unaware of the tower’s purpose.