This advertising column is designed to clean polluted city air

The Pluvo Column has the footprint equivalent to half that of a phone booth, but is able to clean one cubic metre of air per second.

Cleantech company Pluvo has partnered with ad company Kinetic to roll out its flagship product, the Pluvo Column, across the country.

Its inventors say that the “ground-breaking” Pluvo Column can scrub one cubic metre of air clean every second. Through a combination of filtering techniques, it claims to clean up to 99% of harmful particulate matter from the air, including noxious gases and airborne viruses.

In a similar deal to that of the “Boris Bikes” in London, Kinetic will sell advertising space on the 11-foot high columns which will in turn pay for their installation and upkeep.

Pluvo trial in Finchley

“The more enclosed a space is, the greater the impact”

The Pluvo Column has been trialled for the last six months at a site in Finchley, north London. The invention was supported in its development with an Innovate UK Smart Grant.

Pluvo CEO Matteo Maccario says the product has been designed to be “versatile in its application” and will now seek roll out across multiple “pollution hotspot areas”.

Such areas will include airports, rail stations and key roadside locations, he explains. “The most effective places to have these columns are areas where you have high levels of harmful air pollution along with high occupancy or visitation from people, for example transport hubs,” Maccario says. “The more enclosed a space is, the less local air circulation, and the greater the impact.”

Maccario says the column’s “futuristic and engaging” aesthetic, achieved through stainless steel surfaces and illuminated displays, was selected so it fits in well in any location. “It’s not just another box”, he says.

Pluvo render streetside

Three stages of filtration

The purification process itself works in tiered stages, Maccario says. Each stage is targeted at a specific pollutant type.

“The first stage attracts and traps harmful tiny particulate that can enter the bloodstream directly; the second stage absorbs specific harmful gas pollutants, such as NOx (nitrous oxide) and SOx (sulphur oxide) found in vehicle emissions, rendering them inert while also eliminating viruses; the final stage acts as a post-filter for any remaining particulate in the air stream,” he explains.

To maximise Pluvo’s net positive impact, the three-stage filtering system has been designed to be reusable wherever possible. Certain inert or trapped pollutant outputs can be gathered and disposed of safely or otherwise upcycled.

Additionally, the devices use less than the equivalent of ten conventional lightbulbs to power itself. This energy is supplied through renewable sources.

Pluvo trial in Finchley

Showing customers “they care about dealing with pressing environmental issues”

WPP advertising company Kinetic has been part of the development process of the Pluvo Column “since the outset”, Maccario says. The partnership will allow the companies Kinetic services to show to their customers that “they care about dealing with pressing environmental issues”, he adds.

Having advertisers effectively sponsor the columns is a convenient way to get around funding for the devices. A similar, but smaller scale project was launched in 2018 between BNP Paribas and JCDecaux in London’s Marylebone Station.

Having completed its first six month trial, the team is now in discussions with potential customers to roll out at a first commercial location.

What do you think of Pluvo’s innovation? Let us know in the comments below.

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  • Michael May 25, 2021 at 9:22 am

    Just like carbon sequestration, this really isn’t getting to the problem. We just need to pollute less.

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