BESIX Clean AIR: an interview with bio-engineer Peter Van den Mooter
Moss is pleasant to look at and if you sometimes go for a walk in the woods you know that it absorbs noise. But moss has other qualities: it is an efficient, natural filter of fine particles and it reduces urban heat island effects. What's more, moss can survive in difficult conditions for a long time, which is a great advantage for BESIX's Clean Air experiment.
“The intention is to build panels made of moss that filter out fine particles and black carbon from the air”, explains bio-engineer Peter Van den Mooter. “Such a panel is ideal for places with limited green space but with a lot of fine particles and black carbon in the air: at the entrances and exits of motorways and in tunnels, for example. The ordinary moss you find in your garden is ideal for this. Our initial tests show that this moss filters out up to almost a third of the air. In addition to moss, our wall is equipped with lots of technical sensors: we really measure everything”.
Van den Mooter is now experimenting to grow that moss himself. On the BESIX site in Bilzen (Belgium), he has transformed a small building into a moss nursery. “Some people declare me crazy: I grow moss, while others want to keep it out of their garden at all costs. But for me it's a plant with interesting qualities”.
Pictures: François De Heel