When it comes to air pollution, some solutions tower over the others.
Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde created a tower that sucks up the smog around it, converts it into clean air and — this part is rich — compresses collected carbon particles into diamonds.
The idea came to Roosegaarde when he looked out the window of his hotel in Beijing to find that he couldn’t see the city, according to TED.
The Smog Free Tower, which he promptly set to invent with his team, is a breath of fresh air.
The tower is a massive air purifier. While its ability to produce diamonds is a little gem, the real gold is the capacity at which it can clean the air.
The tower, which also happens to be solar-powered, sucks up 30,000 cubic meters of polluted air per hour before releasing it as clean air.
Roosegaarde didn’t stop there, no matter how effective it was. (The air around the tower was 55-75% cleaner than in other parts of Beijing, one of the cities where it was installed.)
He added a feature to make use of the stuff that was being filtered out — the soot extracted from the dirty air — and that quickly piled up.
“We had buckets of this disgusting material in our studio,” says Roosegaarde.
When his studio realized that 42% of the particles in the soot were carbon, Roosegaarde added a function to the tower that would compress it for 30 minutes to turn it into a small dark gem that can be used in rings or cufflinks and represents 1,000 cubic meters of pollution.
Over the years, the artist has worked with NGOs, governments, students and tech companies to install the Smog Free Tower in cities like Rotterdam, Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian and Anyang.
For more ideas on how you can save the planet, visit 1Thing.