The Smog Free Tower: World’s Largest Electric Vacuum Sucking Up Smog and Spitting Out Jewels

By: | August 8th, 2015

Everything in Earth’s system cycles and recycles into a new use. The carbon cycle is responsible for trees, our human bodies, and diamonds. So why not take advantage of nature’s cycling to turn our human-created carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide into gemstones?

That’s the thinking of Studio Roosegaarde, whose founder believes “waste in the future shouldn’t exist.” He believes that all pollution is matter just waiting to become something else. And the smog vacuum is Daan Roosegaarde’s way of demonstrating that in real time. His awareness of the urgency of dealing with our human smog problem came to him while gasping his way through Beijing.

This is not a futuristic idea; it’s a current Kickstarter campaign with the intention of launching in Rotterdam, Netherlands possibly as early as September of this year. The Smog Free Tower will be 23 feet tall and have the capacity to eliminate 123 million cubic feet of smog per day.

Out of the air extracted by the tower each day, it is estimated that 35,000 cubic feet of it would be needed to make a ring, 42 percent of which constitutes carbon particles. The Smog Free Towers should produce about 3,500 stones per day.

The stones can be purchased in advance of the tower’s launch via the Kickstarter campaign in the form of a cube, ring, or cuff links, ranging in price from a $54 cube to a $271 piece of jewelry.

Using ion technology, the Smog Free Tower creates a bubble of air that is 75% cleaner than the surrounding air, resulting in a “clean air park.” A tower can run on 1700 watts of electricity, but solar and wind energy are possible in the future.

The goal of the Kickstarter campaign is to raise $54,000 for a tower prototype. So far, the Smog Free concept has only been tested in small spaces, such as hospitals. But, the plan is actually to start a movement that promotes awareness of the air pollution we humans create, and creates appreciation of what it is to breathe clean air, all the while exposing some of the human rights issues associated with demand for human adornment. After the first tower is constructed later this year, Roosegaarde hopes more towers can begin to show up in some of the world’s smoggiest locations, including Los Angeles, Mexico, China, and India.

These innovators are not new to fantastic design projects. According to Daan Roosegaarde, “I love to create interactive designs that explore the dynamic relation between people, technology and space together with my team of designers and engineers. You might know us for interactive projects such as Dune, an interactive landscape that brightens according to the sounds and motion of passing visitors, and Waterlicht, a dream landscape about the power and poetry of water.”

If you want to be interactive in the Smog Free movement, or just participate by buying a piece of smog jewelry, there is still more than a month to go on the Kickstarter campaign. If the tower is constructed by September as planned, the jewelry will be delivered in December, just in time for a unique, and truly meaningful, holiday gift.

Carol Mosley is a social ecologist, freelance writer, human rights activist, mini-farmer, and educator.

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