The shift from cars to bicycles is already an important step towards cleaner air, especially in big cities, where pollution is reaching alarming levels. But what if we could go one step further? What if bicycles could help reduce pollution by purifying the air around us?
With this in mind, Kristen Tapping, a design student at London South Bank University, has designed GoRolloe, a bicycle wheel with pollution filters that uses movement to actively purify the air.
GoRolloe does not require additional energy to operate as it uses the kinetic energy of moving vehicles. Compared to other outdoor air purification devices, it captures polluted air directly at the source, allowing for greater efficiency and impact.
The device consists of three parts: a tri-wheel and two circles that hold together washable and circular air filters. As the bicycle wheel rotates, GoRolloe recreates a centrifugal fan that sucks polluted air into the center of the taurus, passes it through a set of filters, and expels out cleaner air into the environment.
In total, there are three filters that the inventor installs in GoRolloe:
- Glass wool, capable of preventing the largest particulates and rain from reaching finer filters.
- A HEPA filter that helps remove particulate matter (<PM1) small enough to pass through the throat and nose and enter the lungs.
- An activated carbon filter can trap noxious gases and CO2.
The filters can be cleaned and reused; even the captured pollutants can be reused for third party products such as construction materials. The materials proposed by Tapping have been specially chosen to add the minimum extra weight to the whole bike. GoRolloe’s parts are easy to assemble or disassemble and recycle at the end of their lifecycle. The final product will be built from recycled plastic materials via injection molding.
One of the key features of GoRolloe is the low maintenance it requires. Just install it and start traveling miles. It comes with a Rolloe app that would track performance, issue rewards, and alert consumers of when their next filter change needs to be made based on km cycled and time elapsed.
According to the creator herself, the system is designed to be installed in bicycle fleets in cities. The next steps aim to maximize air intake efficiency. If it works, the bike device to purify the air could be offered to ride-sharing companies.
Tapping has also won the Design Innovation in Polymer 2020 award for her innovative bicycle wheel. GoRolloe is currently under development and aims to be commercially available in 2022.