While China has been making great strides in solar power, they still have a massive problem when it comes to smog and air pollution. The solution they’ve come up with for it is as elegant as it is phallic. The country has just launched the world’s largest air purifier in the city of Xian in Shaanxi province. It stands 328 feet tall and initial tests are showing that it is already making an impact on the locals.
Don’t go thinking that this is like a normal air purifier that you’d set up in your bedroom or office. This 100 meter tall tower is surrounded by greenhouses that cover half the size of a soccer field. Fans are used to draw polluted air into the greenhouses, that air is then heated by the solar energy inside the greenhouses. As the heated smog then rises up through the tower, it passes through several cleaning filters before exiting the top. It’s pretty much the opposite of a smokestack.
Xian is a perfect test city for the new technology as it relies on coal for most of its heating and power. That can make the winters especially smog-filled as families try to stay warm. In just the first month of testing, they’ve found that the most harmful smog particles (PM2.5) have already dropped 15% compared to before the tower was installed.
As big as the tower is, it’s just a scale model of what China has planned. If all goes well, they are looking at building more towers for China’s larger cities. the largest towers could be fed by over 11 square miles of greenhouses and could reach heights of over 1,600 feet!