50 creative things you can do with smog
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Photo Credit: Shutterstock, smog, air purifier, smog-free park, laundry detergent, Beijing

From London to Beijing, innovators are finding unusual ways to purify the air

Speaking at Singularity University’s Summit Europe last week, Dutch tech artist Daan Roosengaarde described some of his offbeat projects, including a giant vacuum cleaner he is building to create a smog-free park in Beijing.

Working with ENS Europe, he is building the “world’s largest air purifier” using ion technology to capture PM2.5 smog. This will create the cleanest park in Beijing, says Roosengaarde, “where people can breathe, and experience clean air for free.”

No word on whether the purifier will be powered by fossil-fuel based electricity.

Beijing is notorious for its poor air quality. Earlier this year, its air quality index was 16 times the recommended limit. Residents can often be seen walking outside with face masks.

No smog will go to waste

Roosengaarde is an award-winning artist whose work has been exhibited at London’s Tate Modern and Victoria and Albert Museum.

Once the filters of this giant air purifier capture the smog particles, he will compress them into high-end jewelry called “Smog Rings.”

Each Smog Ring supports the cleaning of 1000m3 polluted air, says his web site.

Smog absorbing clothing

In a related development, a UK-based startup called Catalytic Clothing has developed smog-absorbing laundry detergent that they plan to market to China.

The detergent works by coating clothing in nano-particles of titanium dioxide, which traps and neutralizes the smog. The fibers in a piece of clothing can actually have the surface area of a tennis court, according to Helen Storey, one of the company’s founders and a professor at the London College of Fashion.

The company is currently developing the product with detergent manufacturers, but say the motivation to buy it would have to be purely altruistic.

“You personally don’t benefit,” Storey says. “The person behind you benefits. So one of the other challenges for the industry is how to market altruism. We’re used to marketing something that makes you more beautiful or cleaner or better fed. The idea of marketing something where someone else benefits more than you do is a challenge.”

Photo Credit: Shutterstock/ Pollution air. Industrial smoke

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Simona Weinglass

About Simona Weinglass


I’m an old-school journalist who recently decided to pivot into high-tech. I work in high-tech marketing as well as print and broadcast media covering politics, business culture and everything in between.

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