In the northwestern Chinese city of Xi’an, the government has built a 328-foot-tall air purifier to help combat air pollution in the area. The project’s lead researcher, Cao Junji, said that since it began operating, the tower has produced more than 353 cubic feet of clean air a day and that air quality for nearly four square miles around the tower has noticeably improved.
The cylindrical white tower is only one part of what’s being claimed as the world’s largest air purification system. At the tower’s base, there is also a large network of greenhouses. Polluted air is brought into these glass rooms where it’s heated by trapped solar energy. The hot air naturally rises, moving upwards through the tower’s many sets of cleaning filters.
Run by the Institute of Earth Environment at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the tower and its effects are being closely monitored. More than a dozen sensors are being used to track pollution levels, with the air purifier reducing the amount of the most dangerous particulates by 15 percent during heavy pollution. Researchers have already begun planning a 1,640-foot-tall version capable of cleaning the air for a small city.
Around the globe, air pollution is the single biggest health risk to city-dwellers. This massive air purifier system is China’s latest effort in curbing its smog problem. The city of Beijing recently announced a plan to replace 67,000 gas-fueled taxis with electric ones, and has previously worked with the Dutch designer Dan Roosegarde on a 23-foot-tall smog-sucking tower as well as air-purifying bikes.