That’s the idea behind a new concept-bicycle design from Lightfog creative group. And while the technology may not change the course of global climate change on its own, it certainly can’t hurt.
Though still just a concept, the design and technology offer exciting possibilities when it comes to overall pollution reduction, and in impacting individual exposure that results from living in areas where the air is dangerously polluted. As Silawat Virakul, project Creative Director, told FastCoExist, the team wanted to build on the traditional bicycle’s emission-free ability to reduce traffic, and then beef it up by enabling it to reduce existing pollution. Plus the concept could catch on, particularly with the support of municipalities. Electric-assist bikes are enormously popular in high-density cities in countries like China – and they are breaking through in Western cities. Taking into account the enormous populations in these urban centers, the potential impact is compelling.
The technology works like this. The bicycle ingests pollution through a front-facing filter, and then releases clean oxygen back towards the rider – not only helping reduce pollution, but also pollution exposure for the person on the bike. This is not a subtle point – with air cleanliness levels in some major cities now being framed in the context of cigarette inhalation, having clean oxygen available during a commute is a major potential health benefit.
But the design team didn’t stop there – even the frame of the bicycle has been developed with the environment in mind, pulling in natural sunlight that is photosynthesized into energy for the fuel-cell powering the electric-assist motor. One has to wonder though how much value this feature can divine for riders in cities like Beijing where seeing the sky is a rarity and sun penetration can be low.
Regardless, the concept has already received a Red Dot 2014 award for design, and is garnering the praise and attention of the green-technology community. When coupled with a model similar to existing city bike-share programs, you can see the promise this technology has on a global scale. Its also interesting to think about potential applications on other vehicles. For example alternative energy cars, train and freight systems, buses and other mass transit that could all potentially leverage the same ideas. Slap a filter on it and keep it moving.