Until we are able to pollute less – Smog Filtering Towers can help clean the air



  1. Sustainability Problem: Air pollution in cities causes respiratory and cardiovascular diseases as well as premature death. Category: Health
  2. Possible tech solution: Smog Filtering Tower.


  • The City of Rotterdam in the Netherlands was the first in the world to open a smog-free tower.
  • The vacuum-cleaner like structure is seven meters high. It sucks in dirty air, filters it using Ion technology, and return clean air into the atmosphere.
  • Every hour, the tower can clean 30,000 cubic meters of air.
  • Verification tests have shown that the tower improves outdoor air quality by up to 60%, and indoor air quality (such as in parking garages) by up to 70%.
  1. Organizational Stakeholders: Citizens in highly polluted cities, local environmental organizations, private Genentech companies, municipal departments of environmental protection, local political leaders.
  2. Steps in deploying the technology:
    • Obtain political buy in from local stakeholders
    • Secure financial support (can be PPP that brings together local public and private organizations)
    • Design smog filtering tower that meets specific needs of the interested city (size, aesthetics, location, etc.)
  3. Comment on “Elevated bike path concept to fight congestion” by Pablo Mandiola

The proposed technology does not make cycling safer, as mentioned in your post. In fact, regular bicycles would not be welcomed on the proposed elevated lane network, as it is designed to accommodate electric bikes, scooters and other two-wheelers that BMW manufactures.

While the idea is interesting, if the ultimate goal is to reduce GHG emissions and promote low carbon transportation methods – we should be reducing paved road miles and not increasing them. Rather than building an additional road network, I would propose re-purposing vehicle lanes into bike and public transportation lanes, which would reduce the need and convenience of private vehicles on roads and reduce emissions from transportation.

Turning smog into diamonds can be realistic



Smog Free Project consists of a 7m tower that sucks in the pollution from the air and converts it into diamonds. The Smog Free Tower cleans 30.000m3 per hour without ozon, runs on green wind energy and uses no more electricity than a waterboiler (1400 watts). The prototype was successfully implemented in Rotterdam, and is soon being implemented by the government in China.

Article: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/06/why-turning-smog-into-diamonds-isn-t-as-crazy-as-it-sounds/

and https://www.studioroosegaarde.net/project/smog-free-project/info/

Sustainability challenge:

For most developing nations the cost of achieving development has to be paid by the environment. Using different technologies to offset or manage this cost is a good balance between the much needed development and the environmental sustainability. Doing this requires a different way of thinking and approaching the problem.

We already know about the smog problem in China. Smog is a problem for most other nations. The Smog Free Project uses technology to convert the problem to a product of great value.


  • Governments
  • Project developers (designers, architects and engineers)
  • Marketers and sellers
  • Citizens on that region/nation
  • Businesses
  • International NGO’s (like the World Economic Forum)

Process of implementation:

The process of implementation will take a while. The pilot project was successful in Rotterdam. To take this forward will require multiple partnerships to work in tandem with successful implementation of technology. The article (and the videos) elaborate on the complexity of this problem in great detail.

The process in brief would include: Deploying these towers in strategic locations -> Converting the smog into diamonds -> Implementing other policy and technology initiatives that won’t hinder economic growth and would still help reduce pollution -> Create a market for these diamonds and jewelry (possibly use De Beers marketing tactics).