Smog-Free Bicycle’s pedal power could scrub pollutants from Beijing’s air

smog free bicycle 1
Riding a bike instead of driving a car may be the more environmentally friendly choice of transport, but could bicycles actually help fight pollution more directly? The Netherlands’ Studio Roosegaarde claims the answer is a resounding “yes” — and it’s got its eyes set on Beijing’s notoriously high levels of smog to prove its point.

Right now, the Smog-Free Bicycle is still just a concept, but it’s a pretty darn intriguing one that’s already captured our interest. “It is still in development, but as with our Smog Free Tower, it sucks up the dirty air and releases clean air in its vicinity,” creator Daan Roosegaarde told Digital Trends.

The Smog Free Tower that Roosegaarde refers to is a 23-foot wind-powered structure that essentially functions as a giant air purifier. In a study by Eindhoven University of Technology, the technology used for the Smog Free Tower was found to remove up to 70 percent of the ingested PM10 and up to 50 percent of the ingested PM2.5 — two of the pollutants which contribute to smog. In an open field in calm weather, the Smog Free Tower is able to cause smog reductions of more than 20 meters around it.

Roosegaarde’s idea is to now take that technology on the move with a bicycle that releases positively-charged ions into the air, which then capture pollutants and suck them back inside. “It reflects our drive to activate new solutions together with citizens, makers, NGOs and governments towards smog-free cities,” he continued. “The Smog Free Bicycle, along with Smog Free Tower and Smog Free Jewellery, are part of the larger Smog Free Project. More concepts will be added along the journey.”

At present, Roosegaarde said the team is working on a prototype, which it will be developing with a partner in China and the Netherlands. One possibility is that the bike will be used in local bikesharing programs in China, such as Mobike. There’s no word on when it might be available as a commercial product that international customers can get their hands on, but hopefully we won’t be waiting too much longer.

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