China has reportedly built an over 300 feet tall air purification tower to combat the nation's intense air pollution issues. The giant tower, allegedly dubbed the "world's biggest air purifier" by its operators, has reportedly been built in Xian, in the Shaanxi province. In winter, the city of Xian reportedly experiences extreme pollution, especially given that Xian's heating systems are heavily dependent on coal.
Researchers at the Institute of Earth Environment at the Chinese Academy of Sciences are currently testing the experimental air purification tower. Over a dozen pollution monitoring stations have reportedly been set up to test the tower's impact on Xian.
The massive air purification tower has already reportedly produced over 10 million cubic metres of clean air every day. According to the project's lead scientist Cao Junji, improvements in air quality over an area of 10sq km have already been observed, the South China Morning Post reported.
"The tower has no peer in terms of size ... the results are quite encouraging," Cao said.
Cao also reportedly said that the giant tower was successful in reducing smog to almost moderate levels on days when extremely high pollution levels were observed. The base of the tower, covering around half the size of a football field, reportedly consists of greenhouses. These glasshouses reportedly absorb polluted air, which is then heated up by solar power. The rising hot air then passes through multiple layers of cleaning filters as it ascends through the tower.
According to Cao, the tower needs very little power to run, relying instead on solar energy. "It barely requires any power input throughout daylight hours. The idea has worked very well in the test run," the researcher said.
The Xian tower is reportedly supposed to be a scaled-down version of much larger smog towers, which the Chinese scientists hope to build in other cities across the nation in the future. The South China Morning Post reported that a patent the researchers filed in 2014 reveals that a full-sized smog tower would be over 1,600ft high and over 650 wide in diameter.