Cutting-Edge Air Purification Tower Unveiled in Thailand
Apr 27 2023
Thailand's Electricity Generating Authority (EGAT) recently unveiled the prototype of an air purification tower designed to tackle the issue of PM2.5 air pollution. This initiative is a result of collaboration between EGAT researchers and inventors, with the aim of implementing this technology in communities across the country.
The innovative tower stands six meters high and weighs six tonnes, employing plasma generation techniques to generate an electric charge capable of capturing PM2.5. PM2.5 refers to particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter, which can cause severe health issues if inhaled over a long period. This tower can capture more than 80% of PM2.5 and purify up to 30,000 cubic meters of air per hour, effectively covering an area within 250 meters.
EGAT Governor Boonyanit Wongrukmit stated that the air purification towers were initially installed in EGAT areas to improve efficiency before expanding to other parts of the country. In particular, Northern Thailand is a region of concern where these machines are expected to be deployed in the future. Furthermore, the knowledge gained from this research can be applied to enhance the efficiency of dust filters in other protective devices such as facemasks and home air purifiers.
The air purification tower prototype is a step towards addressing the significant environmental and health challenges posed by PM2.5 pollution in Thailand. Long-term exposure to PM2.5 can cause damage to respiratory systems and blood vessels, and in some cases, even be fatal.
Similar efforts have been made in China, where a 200-foot tower was built in the central city of Xi'an in 2016. Dubbed the "solar-assisted large-scale cleaning system," this tower rests atop a massive glass-roofed greenhouse. Sunlight heats the air within the greenhouse, causing it to rise through the tower, where air filters trap soot and other harmful particles. The prototype tower in Xi'an has reportedly led to a 19% drop in PM2.5 levels over 3.86 square miles surrounding the structure.
The Thai and Chinese initiatives demonstrate innovative approaches to tackling air pollution by implementing large-scale air purification systems. These structures can potentially save tens of thousands of lives each year by reducing air pollution levels in metropolitan areas. However, some experts argue that it is essential to consider the energy costs involved in building and operating these towers, as well as the effectiveness of the filtration systems. Ultimately, solving outdoor air pollution issues will require reducing emissions from major sources such as heavy industry, coal-burning power plants, motor vehicles, and residential cooking and heating.
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