Nature-based solutions to purify the air pollution

According to WHO data, nowadays almost half of the people in the world live in urban areas, where around 47% have poor air quality. Air pollution is responsible for around 7 million deaths worldwide every year since poor air quality is a condition that triggers various cardio-respiratory diseases [1-7]. -Only the NOx causes half of the deaths caused by diseases of this type in Spain [8].

Fortunately, several studies have shown the benefits of nature-based solutions in the form of biofilters with an efficiency greater than 99% to remove PM10 particles from polluted air (both indoors and outdoors). Regarding interior spaces, a Dynamic Botanical Air Filtration System (DBAF) demonstrated its potential for removing indoor VOC’s with an efficiency of 90% formaldehyde and over 33% for toluene [9-17].

There have been made experimental tests with standardized sensors to measure the efficiency of our technology regarding the emissions absorption from a car’s exhaust pipe. The test was made measuring the emissions generated by a diesel vehicle 2007 model during 40 minutes (manufactured under the standards the euro 4) with all the loads placed (engine idling; air conditioning started; lights and lights on; windscreen wipers on; stereo at high-volume; flashing lights on; anti-fogging system on and the driving assistance on).

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The total amount of emissions were of 48 ppm or 98 mg / m3 of NOx, which was absorbed by 1 sqm of vegetation in 120 minutes. One MUAC has 4 sqm of vegetation so it can reduce the time of absorption to only 30 minutes, furthermore, functioning 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 


1          Wang, G. Z., Cheng, X., Zhou, B., Wen, Z. S., Huang, Y. C., Chen, H. Bin, … Zhou, G. B. (2015). The chemokine CXCL13 in lung cancers associated with environmental polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons pollution. ELife, 4(NOVEMBER2015), 1–23.

2          García-Yee, J. S., Torres-Jardón, R., Barrera-Huertas, H., Castro, T., Peralta, O., García, M., … Ruiz-Suárez, L. G. (2018). Characterization of NOx-Oxrelationships during daytime interchange of air masses over a mountain pass in the Mexico City megalopolis. Atmospheric Environment, 177(x), 100–110.

3          Hooftman, N., Messagie, M., Van Mierlo, J., & Coosemans, T. (2018). A review of the European passenger car regulations – Real driving emissions vs local air quality. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 86(July 2017), 1–21.

4          Velasco, E., Perrusquia, R., Jiménez, E., Hernández, F., Camacho, P., Rodríguez, S., … Molina, L. T. (2014). Sources and sinks of carbon dioxide in a neighborhood of Mexico City. Atmospheric Environment, 97, 226–238.

5          Cai, Y., Hodgson, S., Blangiardo, M., Gulliver, J., Morley, D., Fecht, D., … Hansell, A. L. (2018). Road traffic noise, air pollution and incident cardiovascular disease: A joint analysis of the HUNT, EPIC-Oxford and UK Biobank cohorts. Environment International, 114(March), 191–201.

6          Decina, S. M., Hutyra, L. R., Gately, C. K., Getson, J. M., Reinmann, A. B., Short Gianotti, A. G., & Templer, P. H. (2016). Soil respiration contributes substantially to urban carbon fluxes in the greater Boston area. Environmental Pollution, 212, 433–439.

7          Newell, K., Kartsonaki, C., Lam, K. B. H., & Kurmi, O. P. (2017). Cardiorespiratory health effects of particulate ambient air pollution exposure in low-income and middle-income countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet Planetary Health, 1(9), e368–e380.

8          Linares, C., Falcón, I., Ortiz, C., & Díaz, J. (2018). An approach estimating the short-term e ff ect of NO 2 on daily mortality in Spanish cities. Environment International, 116(2), 18–28.

9          Croome, C., & A, D. (2017). A review of air filtration technologies for sustainable and healthy building ventilation.

10      Irga, P. J., Paull, N. J., Abdo, P., & Torpy, F. R. (2017). An assessment of the atmospheric particle removal efficiency of an in-room botanical biofilter system. Building and Environment.

11      Kempe, T., & Hantsch, A. (2017). Large-eddy simulation of indoor air flow using an efficient finite-volume method. Building and Environment.

12      Soreanu, G., Dixon, M., & Darlington, A. (2013). Botanical biofiltration of indoor gaseous pollutants – A mini-review. Chemical Engineering Journal.

13      Tudiwer, D., & Korjenic, A. (2017). The effect of an indoor living wall system on humidity, mould spores and CO2-concentration. Energy and Buildings.

14      Pérez-Urrestarazu, L., Fernández-Cañero, R., Franco, A., & Egea, G. (2016). Influence of an active living wall on indoor temperature and humidity conditions. Ecological Engineering.

15      Irga, P. J., Abdo, P., Zavattaro, M., & Torpy, F. R. (2017). An assessment of the potential fungal bioaerosol production from an active living wall. Building and Environment.

16      Charoenkit, S., & Yiemwattana, S. (2016). Living walls and their contribution to improved thermal comfort and carbon emission reduction: A review. Building and Environment.

17      Wang, Z., & Zhang, J. S. (2011). Characterization and performance evaluation of a full-scale activated carbon-based dynamic botanical air filtration system for improving indoor air quality. Building and Environment.

3 Comentarios

  1. Air pollution is particulate matter, tiny particles small enough to enter the cardiovascular system and major organs, where they wreak havoc on our bodies from the inside. That particulate matter comes from several main sources: manufacturing, burning fuel for heating and cooking, burning coal for energy, and burning gasoline in vehicles. In short, burning stuff is the problem. A 2016 study breaks it down: 25% of urban pollution comes from traffic, 15% from industrial activities, 20% by domestic fuel burning, 22% from unspecified sources of human origin, and 18% from natural dust and salt.

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