Urban Purifier: the innovative Audi filter that cleans the air
The new Audi Urban Purifier innovative filter collects all the particulate matter in front of the car and can even absorb the fine particles generated by up to three vehicles.
Hybrid, electric or thermal engines, regardless of the type, cars are responsible for 85% of fine dust, due to brake, tire or road abrasion. The finest particles, which are less than 10 micrometers in size, can be easily inhaled, with rather serious health consequences. For this reason, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended significantly reducing the particulate limits.
To meet this request, the German manufacturer Audi, in collaboration with MANN+HUMMEL, a producer of air filters for cars, has thus decided to develop an unprecedented filtering system designed for electric cars which collects and traps and absorbs the fine dust particles caused by road traffic.
Audi: sustainability and responsibility
Sustainability is a core value for Audi. The brand is committed to the front line in order to reduce emissions, with the aim of making the production cycle carbon neutral. And the new filtration system that collects and traps vehicular and environmental particulates is part of this commitment.
As already mentioned some time ago, the well-known car manufacturer is developing a road filtering system that collects environmentally damaging microparticles that tires leave behind on the streets from consequent wear. Developed by the Audi Environmental Foundation (the special division dedicated to the environment of the German manufacturer) in collaboration with the Technical University of Berlin, seem to have already had good results not only in the first laboratory tests but also in the field.
The new Urban Purifier technology uses the logic of static systems and guarantees not only the absorption of fine dust generated by the cars on which it is mounted, but also of those present in urban environments generated by other vehicles.
This pilot project started in 2020, will run for a period of four years and “is an example of Audi’s pursuit of innovation for everyone’s benefit and a successful collaboration with specialized suppliers. We are already doing a lot today on our own initiative. We anticipate it will also become a legal requirement in the future”, explains Fabian Groh, Project Manager in Attachment System Development at AUDI AG.
How the Urban Purifier works
The filter is located in the front part of the vehicle and its mechanical action is very similar to that of a vacuum cleaner: the particles remain trapped in the filter, while the air continues to flow. The system works when the car is running or even when it is charging in stations that are located in areas of heavy traffic and emissions.
So far, the system has been tested on the Audi e-tron: while driving, the air enters thanks to the movement of the vehicle, while during recharging, the flow is generated thanks to the activation of the cooling system which conveys the air from the outside.
After more than 50,000 kilometers of tests, the results have been positive, both in terms of the effectiveness of the filtering system and for integration on board, and has not created any problems even on hot summer days or during rapid recharging. And Audi is so convinced of its project that it hypothesizes that in the future such a filter will be made mandatory on all cars.
Effectiveness and maintenance
The Urban Purifier immediately proved to be very effective: in an averagely busy city like Stuttgart, all the particulate matter in front of the car is collected and filtered. In most polluted metropolises like Beijing, on the other hand, this system would be able to absorb the fine particles of up to three vehicles.
What about maintenance? The filter, made of 15% recycled materials and also 60% recyclable, can simply be replaced during the standard car services.
To make the system even more efficient, Audi is also developing together with MANN+HUMMEL a connection to public infrastructures, such as weather stations, to calibrate the effect of the filters to the climatic conditions and to show the results of the action to the driver.
Who knows when this innovative filter will be ready… we just have to wait!
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