Could This Giant Vacuum Cleaner Save Our Cities From Pollution? Dutch Inventor Tests Smog-Sucking System

Could This Giant Vacuum Cleaner Save Our Cities From Pollution? Dutch Inventor Tests Smog-Sucking System

Emissions from burning fuels, industrial combustion and other pollutants mean that over 90 per cent of the world is breathing 'bad air', according to the World Health Organisation.

These emissions have an adverse effects on people's health, and inventors are trying to find new ways to reduce their concentration in the air.

The latest of these inventions is the world's first giant outside air vacuum cleaner, which has been revealed at a conference in the Netherlands.

The large purifying system is intended to filter out toxic tiny particles from the atmosphere surrounding the machine.

'It's a large industrial filter about eight metres (yards) long, made of steel... placed basically on top of buildings and it works like a big vacuum cleaner,' said Henk Boersen, a spokesman for the Envinity Group which unveiled the system in Amsterdam.

The system is said to be able to suck in air from a 984-foot (300-metre) radius - and from over four miles (seven kilometres) upwards.

It can treat 800,000 cubic metres of air an hour, filtering out 100 per cent of fine particles and 95 per cent of ultra-fine particles, the company said.

These figures were the result of tests carried out by the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) on its prototype.


'A large column of air will pass through the filter and come out clear,' Boersen told AFP, speaking on the side-lines of a major two-day offshore energy conference in Amsterdam.

Fine particles are caused by emissions from burning wood and other fuels as well as industrial combustion, and have 'adverse effects on health,' according to the European Environment Agency.

As for ultra-fine particles, they are released by emissions from vehicles as well as aeroplanes, according to Envinity, and can 'damage the nervous system, including brain cells, and also cause infections.'

Governments, businesses and airports are already interested in the project, Mr Boersen said.

Nine out of ten people globally are breathing poor quality air, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in September.

The staggering report called for dramatic action against pollution that is blamed for killing more than 16,000 Brits and six million people worldwide, every year.

The data in a report from the UN's global health body 'is enough to make all of us extremely concerned,' Maria Neira, the head of the WHO's department of public health and environment, told reporters.

Another air-purifying system called the 'Smog Free Tower' was installed in Beijing last month and launched by the Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde.

Using patented ozone-free ion technology, it can clean up to 1,059,440 cubic feet (30,000 cubic metres) of air an hour as it blows past the tower, collecting more than 75 per cent of the harmful particles, Studio Roosegaarde said in a statement.