Polish design and research collective, NAS-DRA, has been working hard to develop a kind of “parasitic drone” that can attach itself to glaring neon billboards to absorb CO2 in the city air. They hope that this new invention may help improve the deteriorating air condition and light pollution in Hong Kong.
On the wings of this flower-like drone, there is a coat of polymer called polyethylenimine (PEI), which is highly efficient in carbon dioxide (CO2) capture. Every day when the sun comes out, the swarm of drones perching high up on the ubiquitous city billboards will open their wings to “breath in” CO2.
At night, once the billboards light up in their technicolor glory, the drones will then close its wings around the neon lights to take in the heat. When the layer of polymer is heated to a certain temperature, the CO2 captured during the day will be released and can be collected to produce methane and further energy sources—which can in turn power up these self-sustaining winged robots.
The collected CO2 will also help the hydroponic plants to grow better on the drones’ wings; therefore, the drones can prove quite useful in urban farming, as well.
Although the polymer currently is still undergoing further laboratory tests in UCLA, the designer team at NAS-DRA plan to conduct larger-scale tests with more drone models in the future. If they succeed, it certainly will be a great leap in the world-wide efforts to establish sustainable architecture for contemporary megacities.