28/06/2017 Amelia Strohsnitter

3 Key Urban Air Pollutants

Airlabs technology filters the air of the three major pollutants:

  1. Nitrous Oxides
  2. Particulate Matter
  3. Ozone

Airlabs technology filters the air of the three major pollutants: ozone, particulate matter, and nitrous oxides. These species are listed as ‘criteria pollutants’ by the World Health Organisation. The criteria pollutants are generated from a myriad of human activities including industry, transport, and building emissions, and effect humans in every aspect of their daily lives. Airlabs technology is different from others because it is small, effective, and efficient. There is less air flow resistance, so less energy is needed than common air filters. Our technology can be tailored to treat specific the ‘pollution cocktails’ made of varying amounts of the key pollutants found in different urban areas.

Nitrous Oxides (NOx)

NOx includes NO and NO2 and is formed from the nitrogen and oxygen in the atmosphere when air is exposed to intense heat. This heat can be generated by lightning or combustion, making cities packed with vehicles extremely prone to this form of pollution.

NOx is particularly dangerous because it is a catalyst for the formation of additional pollution, including ozone and particulate matter.

Particulate Matter (PM)

Particulate matter is a solid or liquid state pollutant that comes in varying sizes. These sizes are represented as PM10, PM2.5, and PM0.1, ranging from coarse to ultra-fine particles, depending on their diameter. See the diagram below to understand the scale.

The composition and size of PM is highly variable and there are multiple primary sources. PM can enter the air through direct release from different sources such as fires or transport. PM can also be the result of reactions in the atmosphere, from NOx for example.

Ozone (O3)

Ozone in the stratosphere, an atmospheric layer many kilometers away from earth, absorbs ultraviolet light from the sun, protecting life on Earth from this damaging radiation. In contrast, ozone in the troposphere is very dangerous. Simply put, ozone breaks many molecules into dangerous substances, such as acids and ketones. This also happens in the human body when ozone from the air enters it, leading to upsetting health concerns such as cancer. Ozone plays a large role in the NOx formation seen above.