Environment

Air-purifying billboard does the work of 1,200 trees

Air-purifying billboard does t...
UTEC's billboard filters 100,000 cubic meters of air every day, benefiting residents in a 5-block radius (Credit: UTEC)
UTEC's billboard filters 100,000 cubic meters of air every day, benefiting residents in a 5-block radius (Credit: UTEC)
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UTEC's billboard filters 100,000 cubic meters of air every day, benefiting residents in a 5-block radius (Credit: UTEC)
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UTEC's billboard filters 100,000 cubic meters of air every day, benefiting residents in a 5-block radius (Credit: UTEC)

Billboards could do more than just advertise, if scientists at the University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC) in Peru have their way. While UTEC's earlier billboard produced drinkable water, its latest creation scrubs the air free of pollutants. According to the team, a single billboard can do the work of 1,200 trees, purifying 100,000 cubic meters (3.5 million cubic feet) of air daily in crowded cities.

The University has installed its first air-purifying billboard near a construction zone in Lima, a city that's famous for having the worst air quality in all of South America. The billboard works by combining polluted air with water, using basic thermodynamic principles to actively dissolve the pollutants (such as bacteria, dust and germs) in water to release fresh air.

The scientists claim that their billboard filtered around 500,000 cubic meters of air within one week in March, scrubbing it free of 99 percent of its airborne bacteria. The effects of the billboard can be experienced, the team says, within a 5-block radius, benefiting both construction workers and the area's residents. The extracted pollutants are held for analysis, presumably with a view to creating more effective billboards in the future.

The purifying process is continuous, uses 100 percent recyclable water and consumes little energy, the team says – roughly 2.5 kW (2,500 watts) per hour. Ad agency FCB Mayo is helping the University promote the billboard.

"We seek to demonstrate that engineering is behind it all," says Jessica Rúas, Director of Promotion at UTEC. "And what better way to also show that than through advertising that changes the world, helps the community and cares for the environment."

Check out a video of UTEC's air-purifying billboard below.

Source: UTEC via Time

UTEC - Air purifying billboard / Panel que purifica el aire

18 comments
Joel Detrow
China: "Yes, very good. We'll take them." UTEC: "How many exactly?" China: "All of them." UTEC: "You mean..." China: "Yes, every single one. We'll pay double if we have to."
Wombat56
I'd like to see them install one of these in a large Chinese city, but I'll bet they'd have to clean the sludge filters fairly often.
Ben O'Brien
Sell the sludge to algae fuel farms. Make it so that there is an economically viable income off it and it will be everywhere in the world overnight.
Nathan Pham
I think if we could power it with solar panel or wind turbines, this billboard could be one of the cleanest and greenest thing on earth
thk
Seriously, I see them making their way to China.
Rt1583
This would be the ruin of the world if it actually works as advertised and if it ends up being implemented on a grand scale. Human nature being what it is, people would take this as a free pass to lay waste to whatever forrested areas remain since this one billboard replaces 1200 trees. Wtih that said, I seriously doubt that this works as promised. It seems too good to be true, much like the eve elusive perpetual motion machine.
Chris Marshalk
China needs to have this ASAP !!!
Slowburn
I think electrostatic filters would use less energy but they might need more maintenance. @ Joel Detrow That would involve someone with power in the PRC caring.
rude.dawg
Don't worry. I'm sure Chinese hackers are now findng their way into UTEC Peru's servers to steal the designs. China will soon be flooding the market with their "own" air purifying billboards. Xie xie!
Kong Ben
to layman like me the bill board sure is very very misleading 'O2' ..... seriously thought something like artificial photosynthesis. ends up to be a giant dust remover or vacuum cleaner for air