Air Pollution and China
Air pollution is a major concern for all countries around the world but, China has a more depressing story. In a year, China burns as much coal as all other countries combined. This coal burning is the cause of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. In winters, this air pollution becomes even more severe. Smog covers various areas of the country due to excessive burning of coal for the city’s heating purposes.
The World’s Biggest Air Purifier
To overcome the increasing air pollution problem, an ‘air purifier’ has been set up in the province of Xian in Shaanxi in Northern China. The air purifier tower is 100 meters (328 feet) tall which makes it the world’s biggest air purifier, beating the previous 7-meter-tall air purifier tower in Beijing, China.
Who Built it and How Does it Work?
The tower is built and is currently under testing by researchers at the Institute of Earth Environment at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Greenhouses about the size of a half football field cover the base of the tower. Polluted air is sucked by glasshouses and heated up by using solar energy. Due to heating, the air rises through the tower passing through various filters. When the air reaches the top of the tower it is clean / pollution free.
During winters, the greenhouses are still able to absorb solar radiation due to their high efficiency. This is because special coatings on the greenhouses offer greater absorption capability.
Promising Results by Air Purifier
Monitoring stations are set up in the area covered by the tower for monitoring of air quality. The research team is reported to have more than 12 monitoring stations in the area as for now. The results obtained from these monitoring stations are promising. According to these results, the reduction in fine particles of smog that are considered to be the most harmful (PM2.5) was 15% at the time of heavy pollution. However, the research team plans to release more details of the data collected through the monitoring stations.
The purpose of the biggest purifier of the earth is to find an effective way to remove pollutants from the atmosphere in a cost-effective manner. The project was started in 2015 and its construction was completed in 2018 at a development zone in Chang’an district in Xian in Shaanxi, China.
How much Air does it Purify?
When it comes to power, the researchers say that the tower in Xian requires very little power to run as compared to the tower in Beijing which uses solar power to produce about 8 cubic meters of clean air per second. Also, the tower in Xian has been able to produce more than 10 million cubic meters of clean air per day in a 10 square km area. The tower has helped to reduce the smog in severely polluted areas down to moderate levels.
Have People felt any change?
People in the area have felt the change in the atmosphere and air quality. When asked about how the air felt, they told the reporters that they felt better. Some also added that the improvement was quite noticeable. However, people living on the edge of the 10 square km area were not satisfied. They told the reporters that they felt no change in the air and it was the same as before.
What does the research team plan for the future?
The research team plans to build a much larger tower with greater efficiency and capacity. This will clean more air in a larger area. After the successful implementation of this scaled-down version, we might be seeing many large towers all around China to reduce smog and clean the air. These towers will be 500 meters high and will be 200 meters wide in diameter. These towers will cover approximately 30 square km, being able to clean the air for a small city.