Shaima Al-Jalal

Year 1 MArch

Harnessing Nature's Breath: Moss Towers for Sustainable Air Filtration

Kings Dyke Brick factory, Forterra, Peterborough

The Fens, a historically marshy region in Eastern England, face a renewed threat to their air quality. This project explores the potential of moss for bioremediation, leveraging its natural ability to filter and purify air. Drainage for agriculture and industry, along with climate stress, has significantly impacted the moss and peatlands of the Fens, adding pollution as another layer of damage and stress. This project speculates on the potential of an air purification system using moss for air filtration to mitigate the downwind effects of particulate exhaust, which currently affects residents and pollutes the surrounding environment.

Brick factories operating within the Fens are a significant source of air pollution, emitting harmful gases like carbon dioxide and particulate matter such as silica, nitrogen dioxide& smoke. Initial explorations focused on understanding the growth structures of moss and its morphological potential to remediate and collect particulate matter from the air through understanding form and surface area.

The project proposal is focused on reprogramming the exhaust chimney stacks of the brick factory. Naturally occurring moss species from adjacent peaty areas are cultivated for their bioremediation capabilities. While within the new tower structure, moss will be arranged in filtering layers. Initial rhizoids (hair-like structures) will capture larger particulate matter physically. Following this, smaller pollutants will be absorbed directly by the moss through bioaccumulation.

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