In December 2015, Northeastern China’s air pollution reached record-breaking highs, with Beijing issuing a Red Alert not once, but twice. In the ongoing battle against air pollution, Chinese residents have been forced to don gas masks and keep their children locked indoors to try and protect them from the health risks associated with thick, dense smog creeping over the country. The biggest threat is posed by PM2.5, a tiny airborne particulate that, when inhaled, can lead to heart disease, or even cancer. Recently, PM2.5 has reached levels 40 times greater than what the World Health Organization considers safe.
People wear masks in Tiananmen Square as heavy smog hangs over Beijing
While there is no immediate solution to China’s air pollution crisis, there is obviously an immediate need for clean, breathable air, and one Ninjang-based company is proposing a solution via 3D printing technology. Ninjang Automation Technology has developed one of China’s first ever, low-cost 3D printed air purifiers, capable of purifying up to 20 square meters of space at a time.
China Air purifiers have the ability to absorb and transform various types of air pollutants, including allergens, dust, pollen, bacteria, chemicals such as formaldehyde, and even harmful PM2.5 particles. Though the actual air purifying mechanism is not complicated, they can still be quite costly, with some commercial air purifiers on the Chinese market selling for over 1,000 Yuan (roughly $150 USD). By comparison, the production cost of Ninjang’s 3D printed air purifier—which is said to be comparable to industrial models—is no more than 300 Yuan, or $45 USD.
“Making a home air purifier is not difficult, and since I can model my own design, I asked why not try to use the lowest cost to make a high-quality configured air purifier?” said Li JiaYu, one of the 3D printed air purifier developers.
The company used 3D printing technology as well as laser cutting processes to create the best air purifier’s internal structure and outer shell. Standing at roughly 30 cm tall, the 3D printed air purifier consists of a fan, which transports unfiltered, polluted air into the cavity. The cavity itself contains multi-mesh partitions, a dust-absorbing net, non-woven cloth, an activated carbon plate, HEPA filters and electrostatic filter papers—all of which capture and eliminate as many toxins and pollutants from the air as possible. It also features a 360-degree air intake design, high efficiency PSC motors, and offers three different air purifying speeds.
According to the company, 3D printing technology allowed them to greatly improve the air purifier’s efficiency, while keeping production costs as low as possible. A new air purifier can also be 3D printed within two days’ time, and the air purifying effect can be easily be strengthened by modifying the internal cavity, meaning the 3D printed air purifier can be customiezd and used in many situations across Northeastern China and other areas in dire need of clean, safe, and breathable air.
Previously, we also covered Sendinaden’s 3D printed breathing mask, which also targeted stressed-out and at-risk city dwellers. Though these are not permanent solutions to China, or the world’s smog and air pollution problems, these functional 3D printed air purification devices provided much-needed relief in these environmentally dark days.