Smog Free Project | Air Pollution To Be Solved



A person can survive three weeks without food, three days without water, and only three minutes without breathable air. That’s what makes clean air such a precious thing. Nevertheless, today, air is heavily polluted, so much that sometimes it is hard to breath. We wish we had such a big vacuum cleaner to suck in the smog. Wait, what? We already have it?


To receive the Luxiders Newsletter, sign up here.


Air pollution is a big issue, especially in the world’s megacities. Caused by human activities such as burning of fossil fuels and their derivatives, a hazardous smog contains large assortments of particulates and greenhouse gas emissions, posing a threat not only to climate but also to our health and welfare. More than 80% of people in urban areas are exposed to air quality levels that exceed World Health Organization (WHO) limits. According to the WHO, breathing in these pollutants leads to increased numbers of mortality and morbidity. As estimated, more than four million deaths globally are linked to outdoor air pollution, mainly from strokes, lung cancer, heart and chronic respiratory diseases. In order to make the planet breathable again and make cities more eco-friendly, Dutch artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde and his team created a seven meters high Smog Free Tower, which has turned into the largest smog vacuum cleaner in the world.



The Smog Free Project is a series of urban innovations developed by Studio Roosegaarde and aimed at reducing air pollution and providing an inspirational experience of a clean future. This project was inspired by Roosegaarde’s numerous travels in China and, in particular, a visit to Beijing in 2013 when he observed the severity of the smog. After the successful opening of the Smog Free Tower in Rotterdam, the project launched a tour across the globe.


"True beauty is not a Louis Vuitton bag or a Ferrari, but clean air and clean energy." - Daan Roosegaarde



The solar-powered Smog Free Tower works almost like a vacuum cleaner based on the law of electrostatic energy. Using patented positive ionization technology, it collects smog particles and dirt from the contaminated atmosphere and releases purified air enabling citizens to experience clean air for free. To understand how the tower is working in more detail, we can refer to the example of a balloon. The friction of the material against the insulator moves electrons from one side, which is positively charged, to the other, negatively charged side. Based on this principle, the Smog Free Tower emits positive ions in the air where smog micro-particles are attacked and then sucked into the negative ions that are being produced by the tower itself and get stored there.

The Smog Free Tower is equipped with environment-friendly technology and uses a small amount of green electricity cleaning 30,000 m3 per hour. The Tower captures more than 75% of the PM2.5 and PM10 airborne smog particles and releases purified air around the tower with a 360-degree coverage creating an almost circular zone of clean air in its surrounding. Thus, it provides a local solution for clean air such as in parks and playgrounds.



Smog Free Towers were installed in Rotterdam, the Netherlands; in Beijing, Tianjin and Dalian, China; in Krakow, Poland; and in Anyang, South Korea. 


“We warmly welcome Smog Free Project to Beijing. This project is key in our agenda to promote clean air as a "green lifestyle" among Chinese citizens. Our goal is to guide the public to a healthier lifestyle, low carbon development and to raise awareness amongst the public and reduce smog.” Liu Guozheng, Secretary-General of The China Forum of Environmental Journalists 


In 2024, the new Smog Free Tower was opened at Hudayriat Island in Abu Dhabi in collaboration with Environment Agency Abu Dhabi and Modon to enhance air quality in the United Arab Emirates.



Studio Roosegaarde ensures that during the air cleaning process no waste is being produced with the smog particle extracted from the air. At the end of the process, the compressed smog particles collected from the Smog Free Tower can be turned into exclusive pieces of jewelry such as a ring. Smog Free Rings contain smog dust filtered from 1000 m3 of air.

Smog Free Ring is now part of the permanent art collection of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts USA, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, National Museum Zurich and The Biosphere Environment Museum in Montreal, so it is no longer available as an individual purchase. However, Studio Roosegaarde promises to launch a new Smog Free Rings campaign in the near future.



Smog Free Bicycle is the latest addition to the Smog Free Project. It was developed with ofo, the leading Chinese bike sharing programme, and was launched at World Economic Forum in Dalian, China. 

Inspired by the manta ray, a fish that filters water for food, the Smog Free Bicycle works in a similar way. With a plug-in device on the steering wheel, the Bicycle sucks up polluted air, cleans it and releases clean air around the cyclist.

The intention behind the project is to make it a transport medium for smog free cities to create an impact on the larger urban scale.


"We are on a mission for clean air." - Daan Roosegaarde


All Images: © Daan Roosegaarde

+ Words:
Kseniia Gavrilova
Luxiders Magazine