Dirty polluted air is a real problem in most congested cities, and finding new ways to clean it up is always a good idea. So when the University of Engineering and Technology of Peru (UTEC) decided to build a new campus in downtown Lima, they came up with an air-cleaning billboard to minimize the impact of the work on local air quality.
UTEC is the same university that created that water generating billboard we saw last year, so clearly these students have a thing for combining environmental projects with advertising signs. You might think that a pollution-sucking billboard sounds a bit like a token project that just scrubs a little air to make the university look good, but this thing really cranks. At over 3.5 million cubic feet of fresh air a day, the sign scrubs the air as efficiently as 1,200 trees, making it easier for everyone to breathe over a five block radius.
Lima has some of the worst air quality in the world, but because the billboard was to be installed in a construction area, UTEC designed it specifically to filter out the types of contaminants generated during such as dust, metal particles and stone dust, along with bacteria and germs. UTEC took samples of the recovered contaminants, and is using them to learn more about urban pollution. The cleaning process uses water and basic thermodynamics to clean the air, and the entire billboard uses only about 2,500 watts when it's running. That's less than a large room air conditioner.
If the billboard works as planned, UTEP plans to develop the technology by building more. Who knows? Perhaps one day a pollution-eating billboard will be a standard feature of all large construction sites.