Electronic Vacuum Promises To Scrub Smog From City Skies [Video]

Electronic Vacuum Promises To Scrub Smog From City Skies [Video]

Dutch designer teams up with the Mayor of Beijing to fight the city's horrendous levels pollution.

Ross Brooks
  • 22 october 2013

Beijing is well-known as a city that suffers from debilitating levels of pollutions throughout much of the year, which is exactly why Dutch designer Daan Roosegaardee is now working with the mayor to test his “electronic vacuum cleaner” that can suck smog right out of the sky.

The concept uses buried coils of copper to create an electrostatic field that attracts smog particles, creating a void of clean air above it. When he spoke with Dezeen during an exclusive interview, the designer explained how the idea is very similar to a statically charged balloon that attracts your hair towards it:

If you apply that to smog, to create fields of static electricity of ions, which literally attract or magnetize the smog so it drops down so you can clean it, like an electronic vacuum cleaner.

Roosengaarde came up with the idea while staying at a hotel in Beijing. On a clear day he was able to see the OMA’s CCTV building from his window, but on a bad day, the same structure was barely even visible.


Having recently developed a working prototype with scientists at the University of Delft, Roosegaarde’s company went on to sign a memorandum of understanding with the mayor of Beijing to create a public park to showcase the technology. Compared with the poisonous smog above, the copper coils can be buried beneath the grass of the park with no ill-effects.

Roosegaarde’s team still needs another 18 months to continue developing the technology before it will be ready to put in place on the ground in Beijing. If it proves successful, the “electronic vacuum cleaner” could be a literal breath of fresh air for the people living in Beijing, many of whom are at risk of serious health complications due to the ever-present pollution.

Daan Roosegaardee


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