Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde has covered billboards in Monterrey, Mexico, with an air-purifying resin that can eat up the city's smog.
The advertisements are coated with a special resin that triggers a photocatalytic process in sunlight to convert smog into clean air.
"This project proposes to use the city's existing panoramic structures to remove environmentally harmful particles through a smart sunlight and wind coating process," said Studio Roosegaarde to Dezeen.
"It provides an additional alternative solution to reduce air pollution and make a real impact."
The photocatalytic process is similar to photosynthesis, where plants convert carbon dioxide and water into food. The furniture brand IKEA also used a photocatalyst mineral in their air-cleaning Gunrid curtain.
In Roosegaardes project, a material called pollu mesh is activated by natural light and used to separate oxygen from carbon dioxide.
"The smog-eating billboard uses a sunlight-activated nanotechnology coating that performs a photocatalysis process, neutralizing it in contact with the contaminating particles and releasing oxygen," the studio added.
Pollu-Mesh is Roosegaard's latest urban pollution control project, which dates back to a series of smog-feeding towers in Rotterdam and Beijing.
Monterrey is very prone to smog – it has little room for trees and is located in a valley surrounded by mountains known to pollute the environment.
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He created the material as a visiting professor at the University of Monterrey's new Environmental Design Course (UDEM), which included industrial design students Frida Fernanda Leal and Karen Tellez, architecture student Ana Cecilia Álvarez and sustainable innovation and energy engineer Ana María Peñúñuri participated.
Pollu mesh panels are installed in strategic locations in the city where there is high vehicle throughput and therefore higher pollution levels.
Each street advertisement measures 12.7 by 7.2 meters and delivers the same amount of oxygen that 30 trees can deliver over a six-hour period, the studio says.
Monterrey has 9,760 billboards that can handle 292,800 trees in six hours. A billboard can work for up to five years, according to the team.
A graphic on each display shows a picture of a local mountain and is accompanied by a text that translates to "This panorama is now clearing the air."
Daan Roosegaarde founded Studio Roosegaarde In addition to its smog-eating towers, the studio has designed other products and installations that focus on the environment.
These include a light show showing the location of floating space debris, and an interactive exhibit showing visitors their impact on the environment.
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