Giant Chimney to Purify Polluted Air in China
The giant chimney aims to purify air by filtering out noxious particulate matter and releasing clean air in environment offering an innovative solution to a major public-health problem
China is highly polluted country with smog in some parts of the country, which is capable of discoloring buildings. High levels of air pollution in China is resulting into 350,000 to 400,000 premature deaths annually. China started new project in Xi’an, which is one of the most polluted cities in country to combat air pollution using 200-foot chimney. The particle known as PM2.5 is ultra-fine mass of less than 2.5 micrometers, which is can increase age-specific mortality risk leading to cardiovascular disorders. The chimney is designed to remove this particulate matter by purifying the contaminated air.
The concrete chimney is installed on top a large open structure with a glass roof. Solar radiation heats the air through glass, causing it to rise towards the base of the tower. The air is passed through a wall of industrial filters before billowing out the chimney. The system is inspired by renewable-energy power plants that generate electricity from solar heat.
“The Solar-Assisted Large-Scale Cleaning System (SALSCS) consists of a circular or rectangular based green house with glass panels that gradually rise toward the center tower,” said Professor David Y.H. Pui, one of the researchers involved in the project. “Solar heating warms the polluted ambient air drawn in below the panels, and the warm air rises towards the center tower due to its buoyancy effect. A filter bank is placed around the tower entrance to remove the PM2.5 pollutants, so that only clean air exits the outlet on the top of the tower. By placing the SALSCS near a large city, it will pull the polluted air into the SALSCS and return the clean air to the city to reduce the PM2.5 concentration. The SALSCS glass panels are coated with nanoparticles to remove nitrogen oxides, one of the major precursors of PM2.5 and ozone.”
The government funded US$ 2 million for building the prototype of structure. Researchers have reported 19% decrease in PM2.5 concentrations across a 10-square-kilometer area surrounding the Xi’an SALSCS as compared to other parts of the city. Furthermore, the team is working on building a much larger SALSCS in Xi’an measuring 1,000 feet. The novel technology will be expanded to other parts of China and worldwide.
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