China’s biggest bike sharing firm, Ofo, is partnering with Dutch eco-innovator Daan Roosegaarde, along with TEZIGN – a Chinese design platform, to provide cities in China with Smog Free Bicycles – starting with Beijing. More details about the project will be released this fall, and the city’s streets should expect to begin seeing the Smog Free Bicycles within a few months. The bicycles are part of Studio Roosegaarde’s Smog Free Project, which includes towers and rings that suck pollution in Beijing and Rotterdam.
Roosegaarde was visiting the Chinese capital and was shocked by the smog floating between the city’s skyscrapers, which inspired him to start that project in different cities across the world. “Beijing used to be an iconic bicycle city. Together with Chinese and Dutch expertise we will bring back the bicycle as a cultural icon of China and as the next step towards smog free cities,” says Roosegaarde. Ofo has 20 million riders registered to the bike sharing network. The eco-friendly bicycle will suck polluted air, clean it, and release clean air around its cyclist as they cycle.
The smog settled in Beijing’s skyline affects the lives of almost 25 million people. Nanjing University’s School of the Environment published a study that linked smog to 31.8% of all deaths in China. Major cities in Hebei, the province that encircles Beijing, rank among the worst.
“Air pollution exacerbates inequality between the rich and poor in urban China,” says Matthew Kahn, a professor of economics at the University of Southern California.”The rich live in cleaner parts of the city and on more polluted days they can drive to work, work inside, access better doctors, have second homes in the countryside and have expensive and effective air filters.”
Last year, Studio Roosegaarde’s Smog Free Project built a tower in the Dutch city of Rotterdam which turns smog into diamonds. A team at the Eindhoven University of Technology showed that people around the tower can enjoy significantly cleaner air. Within 20 meters (65.6 feet) around the tower, people are breathing 45% fewer PM10, particles of pollution that are less than 10 microns in size, and 25% fewer PM2.5. Roosegaarde also makes rings by compressing smog filtered by the tower, which are the equivalent of 1,000 square meters of clean air. The bicycles and towers work in similar ways to provide a healthy and energy-friendly solution for urbanites, combatting both pollution issues and traffic congestion in the world’s third most populous city.
A similar project was developed in Bangkok four years ago. Lightfog Creative & Design Company designed an air-purifying bicycle which functioned on a photosynthesis-oriented mechanism. Its aluminum frame ran on the photosynthesis system, generating oxygen through a reaction between water and electric power from a lithium-ion battery.