We all know bicycles are good for the environment, seeing as they produce zero emissions. However, Dutch artist Dan Roosegaarde wants to make bikes even better: by getting them to eat up pollution too.
Drawing inspiration from a recent ’Smog Free’ workshop in Beijing with artist Matt Hope and Tsinghua University’s Prof. Yang, the Rotterdam-based designer came up with the concept of a bike that cleans the air as you pedal.
The vehicle comes with a vacuum-like device attached to the handlebars and sucks in surrounding contaminated air. The smog then runs through positive-ionisation filters and is stripped of particulate matter.
The plan is to integrate this technology with bike-sharing programs across China, getting thousands – if not millions – of cyclists to clean the environment in their daily commute.
“The bike is a perfect model,” Roosegaarde told Dezeen. “It has a double function as it cleans the air and reduces congestion while being healthy and energy-friendly.
“The bicycle is part of the Dutch DNA of course, and Beijing and other cities in China used to be bike cities,” he added. “We want to bring back its prestige and follow our ethos of making citizens apart of the solution instead of the problem.”
If this sounds like something from science fiction, it’s not. In fact, Roosegaarde has already done something like this – but on a bigger scale.
His previous project, the Smog Free Tower, involved installing a 23-foot-tall futuristic structure which sucks up filthy air and turns the collected particles into jewelry. And according to research, it worked.
“The results confirm that the tower captures and removes up to 70% of the ingested PM10 and up to 50% of the ingested PM2.5,” said Professor Bert Blocken of Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands and KU Leuven, Belgium
“For a tower in an open field in calm weather, this provides PM10 reductions up to 45% and PM2.5 reductions up to 25% in a circle with diameter of more than 20 m around the tower. When the tower is applied in semi-enclosed or enclosed courtyards, the beneficial effects can be much larger.”
The Smog Free Bike concept hopes to replicate the same success, starting in the north coastal city of Tianjin, then other parts of China, and eventually, India.
Find out more about Studio Roosegaarde and their work here.