by Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan
What’s 23 feet tall, eats smog, and makes jewelry for fun?
In Rotterdam this week, the designer Daan Roosegaarde is showing off the result of three years of research and development: The largest air purifier ever built. It’s a tower that scrubs the pollution from more than 30,000 cubic meters of air per hour—and then condenses those fine particles of smog into tiny “gem stones” that can be embedded in rings, cufflinks, and more.
Each stone is roughly equivalent to cleaning 1,000 cubic meters of air—so you’re literally wearing the pollution that once hung in the air around Roosegaarde’s so-called Smog Free Tower. In the designer’s words, buying a ring means “you donate a thousand cubic meters of clean air to the city where the Smog Free Tower is.”
The process taking place inside its walls is powered by 1,400 watts of sustainable energy, which is comparable to a water boiler, and the studio says it hopes to one day integrate solar PVs into the design to power the process—which works not so differently than some ionic air purifiers. Roosegaarde explains:
By charging the Smog Free Tower with a small positive current, an electrode will send positive ions into the air. These ions will attach themselves to fine dust particles. A negatively charged surface -the counter electrode- will then draw the positive ions in, together with the fine dust particles. The fine dust that would normally harm us, is collected together with the ions and stored inside of the tower. This technology manages to capture ultra-fine smog particles which regular filter systems fail to do.