The challenge - polluted air in cities
Worldwide many city residents suffer from breathing in the high concentration of pollutants found in the ambient air. Sources such as traffic and industry cause high concentrations of particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). In Germany and other countries, the exceedances of limit values are a constant source of discussion. In high traffic areas or places with large emissions and low air exchange, the exposure is especially high and the effect on human health is harmful.
This applies, for example, to busy streets and subway stations. People with respiratory illnesses, the elderly or children should not be exposed to high concentrations of particulate matter or nitrogen dioxide. Surrounding yourself with clean air is a quality of life necessity. In places where people are studying, working, shopping or spending their free time, it is important to be surrounded by clean air.
The European environmental authority EEA also points out this risk in its Air Quality Report 2018:
Our solutions for better air quality in cities
And this is how it works:
Filter Cubes provide clean air
at pollution hotspots
The modular MANN+HUMMEL Filter Cube helps to improve air quality in places with high air pollution - such as traffic junctions or busy roads. Even in particularly sensitive areas such as schoolyards, playgrounds or food courts, the use of Filter Cubes helps to efficiently reduce air pollutants. The Filter Cube technology can also be integrated into existing infrastructure such as bus stops or billboards (see Filter Grid and Filter Square).
The decentrally applicable Filter Cubes are able to bind more than 80 percent of the nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3) and fine dust contained in the ambient air that is drawn in. The core of the technology is a newly developed combifilter, which includes a filter layer that retains particulate matter. Due to the large surface area of the additional highly porous activated carbon media, NO2 and O3 is adsorbed very effectively at particularly low pressure drop and energy consumption.
Depending on the requirements, using a modular system means a number of Filter Cubes can be installed on top of each other to form a filter column. A filter column with three Filter Cubes is able to clean 14,500 m³ of air every hour. The Filter Cubes are equipped with an intelligent mechatronic system architecture. Available sensors record air and weather data as well as the pollution level and transfer the data to a cloud. This way the filter system controls itself depending on operating and environmental boundary conditions and thus saves energy costs since the fan is only running when it is needed.
Scientifically proven effectiveness of Filter Cubes
Already in 2018, the effectiveness of MANN+HUMMEL Filter Cubes was confirmed in a joint study with KIT (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology). Meanwhile the effectiveness of a large-area installation of filter columns has been proven in long-term tests at the Neckartor in Stuttgart, Germany. This heavily frequented main road was for a long period of time one of the most polluted places in Germany by fine dust and harmful gases. More detailed information on the procedure and test setup can be found in the final report of the pilot project, which was prepared in consultation with the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Transport.
Compared to other measures from cities' air pollution control plans, the installation of a Filter Cube network has been more successful than average. Actions such as converting the vehicle fleet to e-vehicles, expanding and promoting bicycle traffic and public transport, software updates and traffic management are all in the very low single-digit range in terms of nitrogen dioxide reduction. Only driving bans would be roughly equivalent to the effectiveness of the Filter Cubes, but they not only severely restrict delivery and commuter traffic, but also keep consumers away from city centers. Since the Filter Cubes clean the air without affecting the traffic flow, they are economy-friendly and at the same time protect residents and passers-by.
Exemplary process of Filter Cube installation
The first step of the project is the investigation of the surrounding area, which has particularly high levels of pollutants. Whether it is an open area on a busy road, an inner courtyard of a business district or a relatively closed subway station, our experts make calculations for each of these conditions and consider different measures. They check where the fine dust and NO2 pollution is highest and how the pollutants are spread through the air. Afterwards they determine how many Filter Cubes are needed and where they should be installed in the respective area. With the help of a simulation, these plans are determined internally and then checked by an independent engineering office.
A Filter Cube requires 1 m² of space and access to electricity. Depending on the location and customer requirements, a foundation and a data connection can be included. After the preparation of the infrastructure has been completed on site, the installation of the systems can begin. Thanks to an intelligent system architecture, the Filter Cube controls itself depending on the operating and ambient conditions. However, the operator can also control the units by remote control and access the system as required.