“Sometimes you can literally taste pollution in the air,” remarks industrial product designer and entrepreneur Matteo Maccario. “Once you know it is there – and exactly what you are breathing in – it’s hard to ignore.”
Matteo and colleagues from start-up company Pluvo have developed an air purification device for use in large public spaces, known as the ‘Pluvo Column’, and is about to install its first units on two railway station platforms: a couple at Birmingham New Street and one at Salisbury station in Wiltshire.
The company has been supported by Connected Places Catapult on two recent accelerator programmes: one focused on Intelligent Mobility in association with innovation agency Wayra UK and another set around Milton Keynes. It has also been part of an SME engagement programme and network with the Catapult.
The Pluvo Column features a three stage filtration system to remove airborne pollutants including exhaust gases – such as nitrous and sulphur oxides – and particulate matter. Air is sucked in from the base of the unit, filtered and released back into the local environment above head height. The units can operate either to a pre-determined schedule, or start working when air quality monitors housed inside the unit detect that levels of pollutants have reached a threshold.
“We are confident that the devices can have a significant impact on air pollution within a radius of 25 metres or greater,” Matteo says. “And as you get closer to around 13 metres, levels of particulate matter have been found to reduce by about two thirds.