The municipality of Cologne in Germany inaugurated the-first-of-its-kind truck that does not only clean the street floors of dirt, but also the city's atmosphere of dust and soot particles.
In 2008, Cologne became the first German city to turn its center into an environmental zone that bars the entry of non-filtered cars.
The price of the green truck, which cleans the atmosphere of soot atoms, could reach up to 130,000 euros, while the upcoming electronic version of it, “the city cat,” will cost up to 350,000 euros.
Harald Rao, the city's chief environmental officer, said the dust-absorbing truck can clear the atmosphere of 300 kilos of dust a year, and a fleet of these new trucks can limit the amount of dust and soot in the air.
German cities ring bells to warn when the atoms of dust and soot exceed the amount of 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air.
Many German cities exceeded these limits before Germany's largest cities followed Cologne’s example and joined eco-zone system. At that time, these cities deserved the warning they received from the European Union. Munich had exceeded the set limits 51 times in 2007, Dortmund 48, Frankfurt 47 and Berlin 45 times.
The “Haigon” truck will work for 10 hours a day in the center of Cologne, especially on the streets where the soot rate exceeds the set limits.
Peter Morin, mayor of Cologne, said the car operates like a vacuum cleaner and absorbs the dust from the air. The truck "electrifies" dust particles loaded with soot, and then assembles them on magnetic plates. These plates should be cleaned each time to be prepared for the next round of air cleaning.
The city plans to detect the "environmental balance" of the car within six months, and how it cleans itself from dust particles before it breaks down. The truck uses a storage capacity of 120 liters of diesel and is capable of operating for 1,000 hours a year.