When driving along pretty much any road, in any country, you are bound to encounter at least one billboard along the way. These flashy signs that very often just have a picture of a good looking person, who should persuade us to buy the latest must-have product, are more of a distraction than anything else. But this should not be the case in future, and it is likely that it will not be, as a team of Peruvian scientists developed a prototype of an air purifying billboard, which breaths in polluted air and breaths out fresh one, just like trees do.
To point out a major city, where urban air pollution is not one of most pressing problem, is quite a challenge. City officials almost always have cleaning up the air as their main priority, but with the increasing population of such places, and consequently the high-intensity traffic, the issue can easily get out of hand (not that it could be an excuse, but still). This is probably one of the main reasons why research in the field is highly supported and encouraged, giving the opportunity to scientists to develop various technologies that could one day save the world.
One such technology comes from a team at the University of Engineering and Technology of Peru (UTEC). The same guys, who about a year ago released a prototype of a billboard that can provide freshwater to local residents, now have a new application for the giant distracting panels. This time, the guy propose that these are used to purify air.
In simple terms, the billboard does that by passing the polluted air through water, where dust, particles and bacteria can be trapped (see a video here). Not only that these could then be removed, but they could also be used to analyze current air pollution levels. After running some initial tests, the guys behind the idea measured that in one day, a billboard can easily substitute 100,000 cubic meters of dirty air for fresh one.
Yes, it is a brilliant idea, if for no other reason, at least it will definitely make people hate a lot less these massive, and often not so pretty, structures along the roads. Hopefully the invention is good enough to become marketable, although it is not entirely clear what has happened to the purifying water billboards. In any case, the news about this technology is great, even if it is in a prototype, or proof of concept, stage. It means that people are working towards finding solutions to one of the most serious problems, and it does not matter if they will use a billboard or a smog eating pavement. We should not discard any of it before we have tried it.
Image (c) UTEC