Skip to main content

A new urban green infrastructure to actively reduce air pollution in urban hotspots

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MossTree (A new urban green infrastructure to actively reduce air pollution in urban hotspots)

Reporting period: 2019-04-01 to 2019-12-31

Air pollution is considered the world’s worst environmental risk, leading to more than 400,000 premature deaths in Europe alone. With two-thirds of the global population expected to live in cities by 2050, pollution in the urban environment in particular is becoming an increasingly pressing issue. There are currently no easy-to-implement solutions for urban heat islands and traffic hot spot areas. Traffic management measures have been slow to unfold, but new models for urban transportation models are being studied. Unfortunately, they are decades away from finalisation and will not be able to provide the immediate relief required.

We offer a fast, elegant and natural solution to improve urban air quality. By using moss as the central element, the CityTree benefits from millennia of natural optimisation. It works hand in hand with other elements of green infrastructure while showing a unique ability in filtering particle matter. In addition, the nature-based design lightens up the asphalt landscapes experienced in cities. Through its positive effects both on a physical and mental level, the CityTree can improve the lives of all people living in urban areas.
One of the main goals of the Horizon 2020 project was to better understand moss as the central component of our solution. Through a series of experiments, we were able to gain knowledge about the plants while paying special attention to their interaction with our technical system and their ability to react to urban stress factors. We researched:
-The effect of varying ventilation speeds on the particle matter absorption rate of the moss mat
-The effect of varying ventilation speeds on the noise level of the module
-The effect of different shading systems on plant health
-The effect of different degrees of water hardness on plant growth
-The effect of different irrigation systems on even water distribution

The findings from these experiments were used to create the final product featuring

-An improved ventilation system
-A revised shading system integrated into the product’s new design
-An updated unit for water supply and softening
-An improved distribution system for irrigation of the plants
-A redesigned controller unit for the automatic irrigation scheduling
-An updated sensor system

To make use of the updated sensor system, we have further improved the IoT architecture of the CityTree. In addition, the infrastructure necessary for scaling up the number of filters to be monitored through the IoT system was developed.
In order to quantify the capacity of the CityTree and receive scientific backing for its positive environmental effect, we started cooperating with two independent research institutes in the field of air quality, Tropos Leipzig and ILK Dresden. During the first half of the measuring campaign, we examined our effects in a controlled environment with regards to

-Reduction in particle concentration
-Speed of air flow at different distances
-Cooling effect
-Humidifying effect

In order to corroborate the positive findings from this phase, we will extend the measuring campaign to the field and gather results in the city of Berlin throughout the second phase of the project.

We are expecting to receive the CE certification in April 2020. This will be the final step in our technical preparation for the product launch.
As a pioneer in Green-Tech, Green City Solutions developed the world’s first autonomous biotech filter. The combination of special moss cultures with our IoT-based control and supply system provides a unique bio-algorithm. This allows us to understand, sustain and reinforce the natural filter effects of moss for the first time.

It also enables us to deliver measurable results. One CityTree can provide clean air for up to 7000 people per hour by quantifiably reducing fine dust, as well as a significantly cooling the air in the respective “clean air zone”. Moreover, we are detecting a strong emotional impact of our product. In many cities nowadays, the infrastructure does not allow trees or plants to grow anymore. The CityTree can for the first time bring nature back to these locations offering a unique user-experience for people taking a healthy rest at breathing moss walls.

Through the installation of CityTree networks in urban hotspots in Berlin in 2020, we are planning to have a positive impact on the affected end-users, on our location partners and clients, as well as on society in general. We are aiming at creating interest and sensitivity for the issue of urban pollution and bring nature back to people in cities.
CityTree illustration
CityTree illustration