Trees are one of the best things we have to clean the Earth’s air, but they have certain drawbacks: they need time and space to grow. Enter the BioUrban, an artificial tree that sucks up as much air pollution as 368 real trees. Designed by a Mexican start-up, the towering metal structure uses microalgae to clean carbon dioxide and other contaminants from the air, returning pure oxygen to the environment . Measuring 4.2 metres tall and nearly three metres wide, the device looks something like a cross between a tree and a post-modernist high-rise, with a steel trunk that radiates rising bands of concentric metal. "What this system does, through technology, is inhale air pollution and use biology to carry out the natural process (of photosynthesis), just like a tree," says Jaime Ferrer, a founding partner in BiomiTech, the company behind the invention. Mexicans know a thing or two about air pollution . Mexico City, a sprawling urban area of more than 20 million people, regularly grinds to a halt under air pollution alerts, triggered by emissions from the capital’s more than five million cars, its polluting industries and even the nearby Popocatepetl volcano. Ferrer says the company’s goal […]

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