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Smog-Eating Bicycles? This Dutch Artist Has a Plan

By Monica Buck

Cycling in heavy-polluted cities can be actually worse for your health than no exercise at all. However, a two-wheeled invention by Daan Roosegaarde could put a stop to that.

The artist already made his mark in China with a “Smog-Free Tower”. This 23-foot-tall structure removes (in calm weather) up to 45 percent of PM10 particles and 25 percent of PM2.5 particles within roughly 10 metres of the tower. More than 1.6 million people die every year in China from breathing toxic air. So Roosegaarde naturally has the support of China’s central government and is working to build more Smog-Free Towers throughout the country.

In case you’re wondering what Roosegaarde is doing with the captured smog, it can be turned into fine jewellery.

The Dutchman aims to use the Smog-Free Tower principles on his bikes as well. They should include a device, most likely mounted on the handlebars, that would pull in the air, run it through a positive-ionization filter and then blow the clean air towards the rider.

“Bikes have always been a symbol of energy-friendly and congestion-reducing living, but this bike serves a double function by cleaning the air as you cycle,” Roosegaarde told the Guardian. “For me, design has never been about creating yet another chair or another table. We should use creativity to improve the way we live.”

Ideally, Roosegaarde would like to team up with one of the big bike-sharing companies such as Ofo. If adopted on a large scale, the program might even contribute to improving the overall air quality in cities.

Do you think this is a feasible idea? Let us know!