Dutch designer creates device that turns smog into beautiful jewelry

Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde created a new air purifier that he hopes will be the answer to today’s smog-choked urban environments. All the particles that the device captures are then made into jewelry.

The Smog Free Tower.
Image credits wikimedia user Bic

Not so long ago a Canadian company started raking in money selling canned air in China. Everyone was talking about it, and it seemed to me that most conversations ended along the lines of “poor people, I wouldn’t want to live somewhere like that.” While China is an especially powerful example because the smog over Beijing is terrifying to behold, things aren’t much better in the US either. Air quality in most cities is just terrible — the American Lung Association estimates that about 4 in 10 of its people live in counties with “unhealthy” levels of ozone or particle pollution. In most cases, conditions are only getting worse.

Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde decided to do something about it. He created the Smog Free Tower, a 7 meter (23 foot) tall, six-sided air purifier. The tower-like structure is intended to be used in parks and acts like a vacuum, sucking in smog at the top and releasing squeaky-clean air through its vents. The device uses 1,400 watts of energy to clean more than 30,000 cubic meters (roughly 1,060,000 cubic feet) of air per hour. According to Roosegaarde:

“By charging the Smog Free Tower with a small positive current, an electrode will send positive ions into the air. These ions will attach themselves to fine dust particles,” the project’s Kickstarter page states.

“A negatively charged surface – the counter electrode – will then draw the positive ions in, together with the fine dust particles. The fine dust that would normally harm us, is collected together with the ions and stored inside of the tower. This technology manages to capture ultra-fine smog particles which regular filter systems fail to do.”

A simple and very effective method; however, the Tower isn’t just a cleaning device — Roosegaarde designed so that the fine carbon particles trapped by the filters can be pressed into tiny “gem stones,” to be embedded in jewelry. Each of the tiny stones is roughly equivalent to 1,000 cubic meters of purified air.

Image credits Daan Roosegaarde.

Roosegaarde got his funding via Kickstarter and spent three years researching and developing the Tower. The first prototype is currently in Rotterdam, but the designer aims to take his towers to Beijing, Mexico City, Paris, and Los Angeles.

Cleaner air and fancy jewelry from the same device? That’s saving two birds with one tower.

One thought on “Dutch designer creates device that turns smog into beautiful jewelry

  1. Brian

    I love the cleaner, they need to slap some solar panels on it though. Else it's just making pollution elsewhere. The jewelry? Who knows? It seems silly to me. Maybe install the filters in homes and business first, since that clean the air too and indoor air tends to be worse.

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