How One Artist Is Turning Beijing's Smog Into Diamonds

An Inside Look at World's Largest Air Purifier in China

Beijing could be taking another step toward shedding its unwelcome reputation for smog and pollution—and creating innovative jewelry while doing it.

Dutch artist and designer Daan Roosegaarde’s “Smog Free Tower” has debuted in the Chinese capital. Using a positive ionization process, the air-cleaning tower captures tiny particles suspended in the air and filters them out. Since more than 40 percent of the collected pollution is carbon, he has struck on a novel innovation: using high pressure to convert the residue to diamonds, which can be sold as jewelry.

Just one of the 23-foot high towers is currently in operation. But as China looks to invest more money in reducing pollution and improving quality of life, Roosegaarde expects to add hundreds more around the world’s most populous nation.

“You could say it’s the largest smog vacuum cleaner in the world,” Roosegaarde told Bloomberg Television. “China will invest billions and billions of dollars in the war on smog. They have been doing that and they will be doing that and we are definitely part of that.”

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