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How Technology Could Improve Urban Air Quality

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It’s no secret that air pollution is a challenge for most major cities. From vehicle emissions to factory fumes, air pollution is damaging to the environment and our health. In 2017, the Telegraph reported that London air pollution levels had bypassed Beijing. Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London at the time, said air pollution was becoming a national health crisis.

More than four million per year die from ambient air pollution. Poor air quality is already impacting our health and may leave us with long-term health conditions. 

Fortunately, technology can help us to minimize air pollution and the risk it poses to our health. Here are a few examples of technology that can help to improve air quality across the world.


Electric vehicles

Cars are responsible for a big chunk of air pollution. Petrol and diesel cars pump harmful emissions into the air and our respiratory systems. Millions of vehicles are sold worldwide every year, and they have a detrimental impact on our environment. 

Fortunately, electric vehicles can combat the air pollution released from cars. Electric car sales are rising across the globe as more charging ports are imported into streets, car parks, and even homes. Electric vehicles are quieter, cheaper, and better for the environment. 

Hybrid cars

Of course, electric cars aren’t always practical for long journeys and rural areas with few charging ports. The hybrid offers both electric power and standard fuel so that drivers can choose between them every day. Hybrid cars are more fuel-efficient and emit less carbon dioxide. Hybrids can also make a longer journey on electric power and are perhaps more practical for some individuals. 

Change from gas to liquids

Instead of switching fuel systems entirely, you can opt for cleaner diesel or petrol fuel. There are now fuels available which are made from synthetic ‘gas to liquid’ substances. This is an excellent option for large vehicles like trucks, busses, and even ships. GTL can reduce Nitrogen Oxide emissions by 5% to 37%. Although GTL is available commercially in the Netherlands, it is rare in the UK. 

Furthermore, natural gas can be converted into dimethyl ether (DME) as an alternative to diesel fuel. DME is more complex to introduce into the everyday vehicle because it requires a modified engine. 

Use of photo-catalytic materials

Instead of targeting the vehicle and fuel system, some companies have started focussing on the air itself. Engineered gas cleaning and thermal systems can minimize air emissions and help your company to reach environmental targets. These treatments are smartly designed, cost-effective, and aligned with local environmental regulations. 

There are a few photo-catalytic treatments available that remove pollutants from the air. These treatments can be used on various surfaces, like roofing tiles and roads. The Environmental Industries Commission said photo-catalytic materials are the cheapest way to clean up the air. There is, however, a slight debate on how effective these treatments are and whether they can make a significant difference to nitrogen oxide pollution. 

Air purifications 

Cities and towns are the most significant challenge when it comes to cleaning up the air. Urban areas have more cars, factories, buildings and generally, more pollution. A Dutch company named Studio Roosegarde, developed a Smog Free Tower to combat the increasing levels of air pollution in city areas. The tower sucks in air pollution and releases clean air to filter out the harmful substances in the air. Studio Roosegarde stated a single tower could clean 3.5 million cubic meters of air every day. We are likely to see more Free Smog Towers globally over the next few years, especially in the world’s major cities.

Air pollution is a climate emergency that needs to be treated through small lifestyle changes.

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Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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