CityTree up for $1m prize

Spill Response Expo blog post 1

A biological air filter is in with a chance of winning $1m after Green City Solutions’ innovative product made it into the finals of the Chivas Venture.

Taking place in Los Angeles later this month, the annual competition will see CityTree up against 30 other socially responsible enterprises; all vying for funding for their world changing startups.

Zhengliang Wu, an IT specialist and one of the four co-founders of Green City Solutions, said: “It’s the biggest competition we’ve ever taken part in and the first time we’ve had an opportunity on a global scale to receive such a large amount of money.”

Packing the purifying power of 275 normal trees into 99 per cent less space, CityTree was created to help work towards a complex objective - improving air quality in the increasingly overpopulated urban areas around the world.
Green City Solutions use plants with a larger leaf surface than normal plants, such as moss and lichen, so the leaves are able to absorb more pollutants without the surface being clogged up.

This moss and lichen is attached to air vents; speeding up the cleansing process. Data is then collected about the types and levels of pollution in the areas where CityTrees are installed.

So far, CityTrees can be found across Germany and in Macedonia, Oslo, Paris, Glasgow and Brussels.

“The one in Brussels is my favourite as it’s as big as a bus shelter and positioned directly outside the Mont des Arts,” Wu said.

“It’s a very popular and busy spot in the city and it’s symbolic, because that’s where the EU decision makers are sitting to discuss how we go about tackling pollution.”

While the primary market for CityTree at the moment is local authorities, who are keen to install CityTrees to show they are being proactive when it comes to air pollution, Wu hopes the German startup’s product will encourage the health of citizens to be prioritised over profit.

He said: “We want to have CityTrees in every city across the globe, and for them to become more than just symbols that governments are taking action on air pollution.

“We don’t just want them in the streets. We want them attached to facades and built into the ventilation system of buildings and private homes.”