Urban areas are characterized by a high traffic density and associated pollution, amongst which high emissions of (ultra) fine dust and soot. Particularly in densely populated locations with a lot of traffic, the air quality is above average polluted. This is due to the fact that there are many sources and little air change. By using an air purifying technology in these areas, it is possible to improve air quality in a targeted manner in favor of the health of road users, passers-by and residents. This purified air is also transported by the wind into the city.
The goal of the ‘Lungs of the City’ concept is to integrate air cleaning into the existing infrastructure at strategic locations in an (inner) urban area, so that air quality at street level can be improved with an almost invisible intervention.
The feasibility of the concept was investigated in 2016. The technology can be implemented in at busy traffic junctions, in tunnels, viaducts, train and bus stations or, for example, street furniture. For the feasibility study, however, we choose to focus on (underground) car parks. City centers are usually characterized by a high density of parking garages. Moreover, these car parks are often located in excessively polluted (traffic) areas, near pedestrian areas where many people recreate and shop. Based on previous practical experiences, ENS, in collaboration with the Eindhoven University of Technology, has developed a plan to enable large-scale air purification in parking garages in order to substantially improve air quality at city level.
ENS Clean Air has developed an effective and energy-efficient air purification system for the elimination of fine and ultrafine dust in car parks: the Aufero. This solution was previously applied successfully in a car park in the city of Cuijk and the city of Weert. The air quality inside the car park in Cuijk improved substantially, due to a reduction of the fine dust (PM10) concentration of more than 70%. In the shopping mall above the car park, a PM10 reduction of more than 60% was realized.
By installing Aufero’s in a car park, not only the air inside the parking garage itself is cleaned, but also a part of the surrounding city air. After all, car parks are continuously ventilated with outdoor air, to refresh the air and to remove traffic-derived air pollutants. The polluted car park air is expelled to the urban environment without purification. Implementing ENS technology in car parks allows for the elimination of (ultra)fine dust and soot and therefore the cleaning of city air. Thus, car parks obtain an air cleansing functionality and hence may function as ‘Lungs of the City’.
In order to be able to support the feasiblity study with practical measurements, a pilot was realized on the ‘Stadhuisplein’ in Eindhoven in the first half of 2018. The purpose was to validate the airflow model that was developed by the Eindhoven University of Technology. This makes it possible to accurately and reliably predict the effect of air cleaning in the urban context.