When will anti-smog towers be installed?
The National Capital is gasping for air. The air quality degraded rapidly since Diwali and in Delhi-NCR, it is still in the severe category. Drawing inspiration from global efforts towards reducing air pollution, a startup named Kurin Systems in India is reportedly planning to install the world’s largest air purification tower in Delhi. While a section of citizens is privileged to afford air-purifiers at home, the City Cleaner will come as a relief for those who can’t. It is said to be 40 feet tall and clean the air in a three-kilometres radius around it. The air purifier would be called ‘City Cleaner’ and measures 40 feet in height and 20 feet on each side, with a capacity to filter 32 million cubic meters of air every day. This comes after a 100-metre-tall ‘Smog Tower’ was installed in Xian, China, which can purify 10 million cubic meters of air in a day.
“We have been pitching the idea of city-level air cleaning to central as well as the state governments hoping to make a headway soon,” said Madhur Mehta, Co-Founder of Kurin Systems. The company says that the air purifier tower can be completed within four months once the project gets a green light from the authorities and is expected to cost 1.75 crores to 2 crores per tower. The City Cleaner is said to use nine stages of physical filters to clean out 99.99 percent of pollutants from the air. Like an indoor air purifier, the pre-filter on the City Cleaner will trap PM10 and larger pollutants, while the HEPA filter will trap PM2.5 particles. Kurin’s co-founder, Pavneet Singh Puri said that the new air purifier will scrub air in the vicinity of three kms and provide clean air for 75,000 people. The startup is said to have recently granted the patent for “world’s largest as well as the strongest air purifier,” by the World Intellectual Property Organization. The purifier is said to feature a circular tower design, which will enable it to suck in polluted air from all sides. It could be equipped with an H14 grade High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance (HEPA) filters, which are generally used as end filters for pharmacy or hospitals with more stringent requirements and can trap 99.99 percent of polluting particles in the air. Alongside the mechanical filter, the device is also said to employ a pre-filter and come with activated carbon to clear out Total Volatile Organic Compounds or TVOCs. It will feature 48 fans to pull in the polluted air and push out clean air, which will run on electricity generated using solar panels. It will be constructed with locally sourced materials. “What we have planned to develop will be the world’s largest and the strongest air purifier.
Your Right to Info: The purifier which will be 40-feet tall and 20-feet wide, will have the capacity of cleaning 32 million cubic metres of air per day. Designed on the air quality of the capital, one such purifier will be able to provide clean air in the 3-km radius of its location, impacting about 75,000 lives, said Puri. The purifier will take air from all angles, which in turn, will help generate 13,00,000 cubic metres of clean air per hour. The Kurin City Cleaner will work using nine stages of physical filters to clean out 99.99 per cent pollutants. Apart from the pre-filter which will remove the visible (Particulate Matter 10 & above) particles; H14 grade HEPA filter (Highly Effective Particulate Arrestance) will clean out PM 2.5 particle (small particles) up to 99.99 per cent. The activated carbon filter will remove all offset, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and scents/smells, added Puri. The tower will also be equipped with as many as 48 fans to keep the flow of clean air constant. The air-purifier will skip the electric grid and run on solar energy, provided there is adequate space. Thus making it cost-effective and environment-friendly.
The difference between the City Cleaner and the Xian Smog Tower: Delhi’s City Cleaner will be different from China’s Smog Tower as it wouldn’t use the ionisation technique to clean the air. “The ionisation of air does not eradicate the pollutants but works by separating the pollutants from the oxygen, which could be a part of the problem itself,” Puri explained. “Not only is our device cheaper than existing devices being used in other parts of the world which cost around USD 300,000 (but) it also cleans many more times than the ionisation towers,” Puri claimed. The co-founder added that the company tested the technology in one of their at-home devices before filing the patent. “We created a six-foot-tall model using the core technology and found out that it works great. To be doubly sure, we gave samples to hospitals, veterinarians, commercial spaces and to people living around Anand Vihar and in Ghaziabad to test out the device in the toughest situations,” Puri shared.
This tower sucks up smog and turns it into diamonds
The tower is the brainchild of Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde who looked out his hotel window in Beijing and realized that the smog was so thick, he couldn’t see the city. Eight-year-olds in the city have been diagnosed with lung cancer, and the filthy air has reduced residents’ life expectancy by 15 – 16 years. “This is not the bright future we envision,” Roosegaarde says. “This is the horror.” So he and his team decided to build the largest air purifier in the world: the Smog Free Tower. The tower they built, which has been used in Rotterdam, Beijing, Tianjin and Dalian, sucks up 30,000 cubic meters of polluted air per hour, cleans it at the nano level — the PM2.5, PM10 particles — and then releases the clean air back into the city. (The tower is powered by solar energy.)
It’s incredibly effective: the air around the tower is 55 to 75 percent cleaner than the rest of the city. But after the gnarly, sooty particles are filtered out of the air, they don’t just disappear — they need somewhere to go. “We had buckets of this disgusting material in our studio,” says Roosegaarde. His team was planning to throw it out when they had a eureka moment — 42 percent of the particles they collected are made of carbon, they realized. And what do you get when you compress carbon? You get diamonds, of course. The smog particles filtered by the tower are compressed for 30 minutes and turned into dark, boxy gems. The diamonds are then used for rings and cufflinks, each representing 1,000 cubic meters of pollution. Roosegaarde says a couple even used a smog ring as an engagement ring. But Beijing isn’t the only polluted city out there. Roosegaarde is headed to India next. He plans to build Smog Free Towers across the nation to help Delhi and other municipalities turn their dirty air into objects to treasure. He’s also partnering with NGOs, governments, students and tech companies to come up with other solutions to help reduce air pollution in our cities. “It’s all about connecting new technology with creative thinking,” says Roosegaarde. “If you start thinking about that, there is so much you can imagine, so much more you can do.”