Smog-Eating-Bicycles to Be Developed in China: But Can We Just Pedal Our Air Clean?

Smog-eating bikes are being developed in China and to be tested in Beijing.

The creative mind behind the smog-eating tower and the smog-jewellery is collaborating with China's largest bike-sharing scheme provider to come up with a fleet of smog-eating bikes for the city of Beijing. But will they just be biting off more than they can chew?

Autor*in Annalisa Dorigo, 08.16.17

Translation Annalisa Dorigo:

The creative mind behind the smog-eating tower and the smog-jewellery is collaborating with China’s largest bike-sharing scheme provider to come up with a fleet of smog-eating bikes for the city of Beijing. But will they just be biting off more than they can chew?

First the idea of a smog-eating tower that cleaned its surrounding air – and transformed the collected particulate matter into jewellery – was turned into reality and tested in China. Now, from the team behind the tower – that is Dutch designer and inventor Daan Roosegaarde and his Studio Roosegaarde, in collaboration with China’s largest bike-sharing scheme provider OFO – a smog-eating bike which will inhale polluted air and turn it into clean air, is in development, and expected to hit the Beijing streets in the not so distant future.

According to Studio Roosegaarde’s recent press release

“The bicycles will work in similar ways as the Smog Free Tower and provide a healthy and energy friendly solution for urbanites, combatting both traffic congestion and pollution issues in the city. It is currently in the first stage and is intended to become a medium for smog free cities, generating clean air by pedaling, creating impact on the larger urban scale.”

As a cyclist myself, the idea of pedalling in a clean air-bubble may have its appeal, particularly if living in very congested and polluted cities, although I would much rather be able to ride my bike in a place with no air pollution in the first place.

Indeed, by encouraging cycling the idea may help cut down on polluting transport in the longer term, but smog-eating-bikes will only ever be a plaster solution if green transport policies (e.g. electric mobility infrastructure, cycling infrastructure, public transport and shared mobility), renewable energy policies and initiatives, and urban planning policies that encourage trees and green infrastructure are not given priority.

Having said that, if the project can help Beijing and other cities’ inhabitants breathe in cleaner air while the much slower clogs of politics are at work implementing the required structural changes for preventing air-pollution in the first place, well, it does certainly deserve a chance.

More details about its design and how it will work are to be released in the autumn – perhaps the kinetic power from pedalling, or maybe they’ll tap into solar power to activate a smog-collecting filter/system to clean their surrounding air? We shall see. In any case, from the man who also gave us the stunning luminescent Van Gogh bike-path, we can expect nothing short of the impressive.

Do watch this space for more information. In the meantime here is a video from the man himself, talking about his smog-free projects.

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