The Go-Ahead group has unveiled the UK’s first air filtering bus in Southampton. The Bluestar bus is fitted with a specially designed filter that removes ultrafine particles from the air and then traps them as the bus moves through the streets. This, in turn, allows the bus to blow out more pure air so that the air behind it is cleaner than that in front of it.
Bluestar have a current network of bus services in Southampton, Winchester and the Waterside, making it the main inter-urban bus operator in Southern Hampshire.
Southampton was chosen as the pilot city as earlier this year it was revealed by the World Health Organisation that the city was at its limit of unsafe air pollution.
David Brown, Go-Ahead’s Chief Executive, said: “We want this pilot to show that buses should be looked at as not just the solution to congestion in cities, but also as a solution to the air quality problem. This bus will clean the air on its route 1.7 times a year to a height of 10 metres – imagine the change we could make to air quality if all buses had this technology.”
UK air pollution is becoming an increasing problem. It has been reported that 40,000 deaths per year are related to air pollution. In England, the total NHS and social care cost due to PM, an urban background pollutant, in 2017 was estimated to be over £41 million.
The air filter, manafactured by Pall Aerospace, will sit on top of the roof of the bus and is made in an energy barrier-type filter construction which is designed for particle removal efficiency without any impact on the passenger or travel experience.
Steve Simpson, Pall Aerospace’s Senior Director of Marketing, said: “Our team is proud of the results on the filtering bus project, and we are excited to see it in action with our partner Go-Ahead. We used our knowledge of aerospace filtration to design and build a product that will help clean the air of the cities in which we live by removing the particulates that are a major component of air pollution.”