First there was the Drinkable Book that purifies water and now, this ordinary looking billboard that supposedly cleans 100,000 cubic meters or 3.5 million cubic feet of air, per day. To put it in perspective, that is the equivalent of the amount of purification provided by 1,200 mature trees.
What is even more stunning is that it rids the air of not just normal dust and bacteria but even, metal and stone particles that are prevalent around construction sites, and are responsible for causing life-threatening health problems ranging from respiratory issues to cancer.
The billboard which was installed a few weeks ago is the brainchild of Peru's Universidad de Ingeneiria y Tecnologia (UTEC) and local advertising agency Mayo DraftFCB. It is situated in the midst of the bustling construction zone of UTEC's new campus that is being built in the Barranco District of Peru's capital city, Lima.
The ingenious billboard works by mixing the polluted air with water and then using basic basic thermodynamic principles to dissolve the bacteria, germs and other pollutants, before releasing clean fresh air back out into the atmosphere. According to the young University scientists, this simple technique helps get rid of 99% of airborne bacteria and is effective over a five-block radius, benefiting not just the construction workers but also the residents that live around the area. The icing on the cake is that the billboard, which purifies air continuously, uses 100% recyclable water and requires very little energy to function.
Whether more purifying billboards will sprout up all across Lima, which is experiencing a construction boom, is anybody's guess. But the fact that the extracted pollutants from UTEC's billboard are currently being analyzed by experts, gives hope that officials may be considering the option.
This is not the first time UTEC students have wowed the world. In 2013, they transformed another mundane billboard into a life-saving water fountain for the residents of Lima. The best part was that the water was not drawn from scarce underground reserves, but extracted from the city's extremely humid atmosphere.
Resources: theatlanticcities.com, fastcompany.com