Dutch unveil giant vacuum to clean outside air

October 25, 2016
One of the group's Managing Partner Peter van Wees posing next to a system he created to filter fine and ultra-fine particles from ambient air at the Offshore Energy 2016 Exhibition & Conference in Amsterdam

Dutch inventors Tuesday unveiled what they called the world's first giant outside air vacuum cleaner—a large purifying system intended to filter out toxic tiny particles from the atmosphere surrounding the machine.

"It's a large industrial filter about eight metres (yards) long, made of steel... placed basically on top of buildings and it works like a big vacuum cleaner," said Henk Boersen, a spokesman for the Envinity Group which unveiled the system in Amsterdam.

The system is said to be able to suck in air from a 300-metre radius—and from up to seven kilometres (over four miles) upwards. It can treat some 800,000 cubic metres of air an hour, filtering out 100 percent of and 95 percent percent of ultra-fine particles, the company said, referring to tests carried out by the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) on its prototype.

"A large column of air will pass through the filter and come out clear," Boersen told AFP, speaking on the sidelines of a major two-day offshore energy conference in Amsterdam.

Fine particles are caused by emissions from burning wood and other fuels as well as industrial combustion, and have "adverse effects on health," according to the European Environment Agency.

About 90 percent of EU residents are exposed to levels of such particles—which can be carcinogenic—above those recommended by the World Health Organization.

As for ultra-fine particles, they are released by emissions from vehicles as well as aeroplanes, according to Envinity, and can "damage the nervous system, including brain cells, and also cause infections."

Governments, businesses and airports are already interested in the project, Boersen said.

Another air-purifying system called the "Smog Free Tower" was installed in Beijing last month and launched by the Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde.

Using patented ozone-free ion technology, it can clean up to 30,000 cubic metres of air an hour as it blows past the tower, collecting more than 75 percent of the harmful particles, Studio Roosegaarde said in a statement.

Explore further: Smog vacuum cleaner inspires more steps to cleaner cities

Related Stories

Smog vacuum cleaner inspires more steps to cleaner cities

September 9, 2015

A certain structure in a public place in Rotterdam is described in Inhabitat as a smog-sucking vacuum cleaner. If going places, that cleaner is designed to ease city pollution. Lucy Wang reported Tuesday of a Netherlands-based ...

Chinese to test electrostatic smog cleaning concept in a park

October 23, 2013

(Phys.org) —Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde has announced at Dutch Design Week, that he's forged an agreement with Chinese officials to test a system he's designed to clear smog from a small portion of the sky. Roosegaarde, ...

Jet engines to become cleaner in future

February 26, 2016

Thanks to a close collaboration between the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), SR Technics and the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA), Switzerland is setting an international benchmark ...

Recommended for you

Privacy becomes a selling point at tech show

January 7, 2019

Apple is not among the exhibitors at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show, but that didn't prevent the iPhone maker from sending a message to attendees on a large billboard.

China's Huawei unveils chip for global big data market

January 7, 2019

Huawei Technologies Ltd. showed off a new processor chip for data centers and cloud computing Monday, expanding into new and growing markets despite Western warnings the company might be a security risk.


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Oct 25, 2016
Doing the math: (300^2 * pi)(7000M) ~ 2x10^9 M^3 / 800,000 M^3/hour ~ 103 days.

There better be a lot of them.
not rated yet Oct 25, 2016
I can see birds getting sucked up into this thing, or getting trapped by the vacuum against any screens placed in front of the intake to prevent that sort of thing from happening.
not rated yet Oct 25, 2016
Doing the math: (300^2 * pi)(7000M) ~ 2x10^9 M^3 / 800,000 M^3/hour ~ 103 days.

Anyone who thinks that this machine can draw in air from 7000 meters away should be gently informed that it is not the machine that is the sucker - no matter what the math proves.

not rated yet Oct 26, 2016
And what happens to the dust that is removed from the air?
Somehow it must be deposited somewhere.
not rated yet Oct 26, 2016
I'd rather we wouldn't produce these particles in the first place. But if it's run on excess renewable energy - why not?

And what happens to the dust that is removed from the air?

As with any filter the stuff is either landfill or will have to be washed off periodically.
not rated yet Oct 26, 2016
Hemitite and Dustywells: good comments. I would also add thet this is not a static problem. Air is in continuous motion, so this is not a static problem.

The only 'advantage' of these schemes is to separate gullible funding agencies and other parties from their money. Pure snake oil sales agents. Sort of like the panic arising from the 1910 approach of Halley's comet. The tail contained cyanogen, and pills were being sold to protect people from the poison. Unfortunately, the current situation is real and snake oil won't help the situation.
not rated yet Oct 27, 2016
Yes, while were killing the planet, lets remove all the pollen from the air as well.
not rated yet Oct 27, 2016
And we continue to Terra-form our own planet.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.