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Fog generator that wipes out air pollution invented in Madrid
A FOG-CREATING machine could be a low-cost solution to traffic emissions and other air contamination – even chemical leaks and smoke from forest fires, according to its creators at the University of Alcalá de Henares (Greater Madrid region).
'Counterfog', developed over four years by the team led by Professor José Luis Pérez-Díaz with the help of European Union funding, was presented yesterday (Friday) at the region's air base in Torrejón de Ardoz.
Members of the Armed Forces emergency response unit, who are frequently called in to help tackle major forest fires and other disasters, test-drove the Counterfog machine on chemical and smoke particles.
It works using a pipe or column with a type of sprinkler system which generates fog made from clean water, and its microscopic droplets adhere to toxic particles in the air and force them to drop to the ground or other hard surfaces where they can be easily cleaned up.
Madrid is expected to use it to combat air pollution caused by traffic, one of the city's most pressing issues, and it could lead to a situation where cars no longer have to be restricted from entering the main urban hub.
Professor Pérez-Díaz says it is completely ready to go and just needs to be 'marketed and installed'.
He says it is an exceptionally cheap method of combating toxic air particles, and would work equally well in the event of gas leaks, radioactive spillages or even terrorist attacks using biological or chemical weapons.
Counterfog can be used in the open air or in enclosed spaces, as well as partially-open areas such as shopping centres with a raised roof.
Pipes fitted along the side of roads with heavy traffic would clear the air round the clock, and 'two or three columns' would protect a building, whilst 'just a few more' would safeguard an entire block of streets, Professor Pérez-Díaz reveals.
“With an investment that, for a city like Madrid, would be minimal, you can achieve maximum pollution control,” he explains.
“But it's not the size of the city or town that's important; it's the level of pollution it suffers, and some very small towns are more polluted than city centres.
“To this end, we need to encourage everyone who is concerned about the quality of air we breathe in to start using the Counterfog.”
As well as water, the system uses other completely harmless and environmentally-friendly substances and does not leave any residue behind.
Endorsed by the Armed Forces emergency response unit spokesman, Captain Corrochano, who calls the Counterfog system 'vital', its creators are now working on setting up a company specialising in environmental technology so they can start to market their invention worldwide.
The photograph shows a member of the Armed Forces trying out the Counterfog generator in Torrejón de Ardoz.
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