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CityTree: Intelligent greenery for air purification

The “CityTree” is the first innovation developed by the Dresden-based start-up, “Green City Solutions”. Along with his team, architect and co-founder Dénes Honus designs climate-friendly solutions that improve the quality of life in urban areas. In recognition of his efforts, Forbes Magazine included the 29-year-old in its European “30 Under 30” list. 90% of city dwellers worldwide inhale large quantities of polluted air today. Harmful substances like nitrogen oxide, ozone and particulates have a negative impact on both the climate and the human body. Green City Solutions is tackling this global problem with innovative ideas, combining natural resources with cutting-edge technology.

Green City Solutions for climate-friendly urban development

In 2014, Mr. Honus founded the start-up Green City Solutions together with a group of German and Chinese experts from the fields of architecture, IT, mechanical engineering, and horticulture. The young Dresden-based company combines biotechnology with modern technologies from the Internet of Things (IoT) to create solutions for environmentally-friendly and future-oriented cities. The CityTree is the four head-team’s first success story. The natural air filter made of special moss cultures is intended to reduce air pollution and heat in overcrowded urban areas.

CityTree: biological air filter meets the Internet of Things

The moss plants are cultivated in a vertical growing system on a free-standing wall. The wall is fitted with a digital interface and collects data on the ambient climate and air quality. In this way, the intelligent greenery can filter large quantities of particulate matter, nitrogen oxide and CO2 out of the air, cool the surrounding area, and use local rainfall for independent watering. Confined to 3 square metres only, the CityTree builds on IoT technologies to consistently purify the air as effectively as 275 trees. The moss-covered walls can also be used for digital marketing purposes, by implementing a QR code for instance.

30 Under 30: profiled in Forbes Magazine

After the start-up won a string of awards last year, the American business magazine Forbes recently included the founder Dénes Honus on its "30 under 30" list in its inaugural European edition. The expert jury named 30 outstanding people across ten different categories who "are capable of changing the world". The Dresden-born entrepreneur, whose ideas contribute to solving problems around the world, was nominated in the Social Entrepreneurs category. “The accolade was a huge motivation to continue finding solutions for future-proof cities”, Mr. Honus said. After all, the CityTree is just the first building block towards a full climate-friendly infrastructure.

Impressions of the CityTrees

Internationally recognised

The success of Green City Solutions is showing no signs of abating. In the last few months, the team of four has managed to launch its CityTree on the international market. Its fight against global air pollution has been recognised with a number of nominations and awards, as well as extensive media coverage. Recently, the start-up held its own as one of the five finalists in the 2016 Postcode Lottery Green Challenge, the largest international competition in the field of sustainable innovations. With a €200,000 prize money in the bag for second place, the team now wants to take its business to the next level.

Green City Solutions putting down roots

As the winner of the 2016 Metropolitan Solutions Challenge Cup, Managing Director Dénes Honus has already helped his company become a member of the Smart City Forum.

His start-up has been equally shortlisted for the 2016 German Civic Engagement Award, the winner of which will be announced at the start of December. The German business magazine Wirtschaftswoche has since named Green City Solutions its start-up company of the week. Meanwhile, CityTrees have not only been putting down roots in their hometown in Saxony, but also in Oslo, Paris, and Hong Kong. Another pioneering project has also come to light in the form of “Aircare”, an open data platform in collaboration with the European Union. The new tool on the start-up’s homepage will soon provide a visual representation of particulate matter pollution caused by road traffic. There is no doubt we will see and hear more from the Dresden-based venture, with their sustained efforts becoming ideally more noticeable as the air quality in our cities improves.

One CityTree filters city air to the same extent as 275 trees. How do you see this concept making tangible improvement in the air quality of your city?

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