ENS Urban focuses on cleaning the air in public spaces such as parking garages, shopping areas and city parks. Polluted air will be captured even before it has a chance to spread through the (urban) environment
Lungs of the City
Lungs of the City is a concept by ENS Urban and focuses on the air purification of a city center. This can be applied in public buildings, civil works and in facilities on the street. With regard to the latter, parking garages, tunnels, viaducts, public transport stations, bus stops, street furniture and around busy traffic junctions can be considered. By using ENS technology existing infrastructure in the public space thus acquires the function of air-purifying “lungs of the city”.
Our technology makes it possible to remove pollution from an important source and thus improve the air quality in the surrounding area. Thanks to our innovative solution, city air is made healthier on both a small and large scale for living, working and recreation.
Air quality in urban areas
A lively and busy city has great appeal. This often translates into poor air quality, to which the people who live, work and recreate in the city are exposed. Research shows that not only does long-term exposure to particulate matter have annoying health implications, but also that short-term exposure already has harmful effects, including on the genetic material.
Although a significant part of the air pollution in the city is supplied from outside the city, traffic in the city has an above-average share in air pollution at street level. Due to the dense construction, local accumulations of pollution can arise, also known as “street canyons” with a notoriously poor air quality.
In addition to existing measures taken by city authorities to improve air quality, ENS offers technological solutions that focus on source approaches, and that can have a particularly positive impact on hotspot locations and the immediate environment, where mobility measures are not sufficient or impossible.
Traffic as a source of particulate matter, ultra fine dust and soot
The emission of particulate matter, soot and gaseous air pollutants from vehicles is a direct and the most important source of air pollution on, and in the immediate vicinity of, roads and highways. Exhaust emissions as a result of burning fossil fuels make a significant contribution to traffic-related air pollution. However, the majority of vehicle air pollution is because of non-exhaust emissions due to wear of brakes and tires and from the dust swirling from the road.
The ENS technology has proven itself to capture both the combustion (exhaust emissions) and the wear particles (non-exhaust emission) that are produced by road traffic. Previous projects have shown that the soot fraction, which is the most harmful to health, is captured very effectively.
Within the urban area there are many applications for ENS technology. The ENS systems can be integrated into existing buildings or infrastructure, such as tunnels parking garages, public buildings and stations for public transport, but also if stand-alone objects are placed on the street side (bus stops, street furniture), or on squares and in parks, such as the Smog Free Tower (in collaboration with Studio Roosegaarde). The effect will be greatest locally, but due to air displacement due to wind, the effect will also be noticeable in the environment.
The integration of the particulate matter capture technology into the existing infrastructure and in buildings in an (inner) city has a dual purpose, namely firstly to improve the air quality in the building in question, and secondly in the immediate environment at street level.
A parking garage has a higher concentration of harmful gases and particulate matter when compared to the air in the city. When ENS’ technology is used these harmful sources can be captured and because the continuous ventilation with air from outside, a second effect can be achieved when cleaned air gets drifted into the inner city.
Measurements and impact assessment
An impact study can be conducted to clarify the effect of air purification. With the support of scientists, a high-quality 3D effect simulation can be performed (using CFD, Computational Fluid Dynamics), supported by national and international source material and possibly supported with measurements as input for the calculations.
A city center is often characterized by a high density of parking garages. Parking garages are often centrally located in the city center, near busy traffic arteries with increased concentrations of air pollution, but also near a shopping and recreational area where many people are exposed to these pollutants. Concentrations can still rise in parking garages due to a high car density and relatively many traffic movements in a small space. To keep air quality manageable, parking garages are continuously ventilated with relatively high outside air flows. The polluted air is often emitted at ground level.
By implementing air purification systems in parking garages, both particulate matter and soot can be eliminated from the (city) air in these parking garages. The air quality in the garages will improve as a result and the air that is discharged from the garages will also contain a lower amount of air pollution. The exhaust air can even be cleaner than the outside air, which means that air quality will also improve in the immediate vicinity of the parking garages. This cleaner air will displace polluted city air from the parking garages where air cleaning is applied.