Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde and a team of other artists and engineers are developing a new, energy-friendly mechanism that sucks smog out of the air and transforms it into diamonds.
While in a small scale model for now, this giant sort of electronic vacuum cleaner will be tested next year in China's notoriously polluted capital, according to a press release.
The vacuum would be at a city park and would work by attracting smog particles into a tower fitted with ionic filters that charge and remove smog particles, blowing fresh air out of the equipment’s side vents. Copper coils buried underground would generate an electromagnetic field that attracts the smog particles.
“The great thing about the technology is that is safe,” Roosegaarde was quoted as saying by The Escapist. “It's already being used in hospitals and it's very energy-friendly, so to have 30,000 cubic meters of clean air purified, it only uses like 30 Watts, which is like a light bulb."
He added his invention would help by producing corridors of clean air that would allow the sunlight to shine through. The version he has planned for Beijing should have a cleaning diameter of about 50 metres, which would produce results almost immediately, he said. And the artist wants to take his plan one step further. Rather than waste all that smog, he wants to turn it into jewellery.
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While the artist acknowledges his project is more of a way of drawing attention to the problem, rather than a viable solution to Beijing’s air pollution, he says the diamonds he could produce can be used to raise awareness.
“These [diamonds] can be used to create locally produced high-end rings. Each ring supports the cleaning of 1km3 of polluted air,”he says.
Man-made diamonds are nothing new. General Electric created precious stones in a lab in 1950s, presumably for commercial use. But it wasn’t until 1970 that the firm was able to produce gem-quality diamond crystals, their lengthy procedure made production rather unsustainable.
Roosegaarde is not new to innovative ideas either. The artist has already worked on several projects to recycle energy in unusual ways, such as a plan for a road that charges electric cars as they drive, or a floor that would generate electricity when danced on.
By Cecilia Jamasmie