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PM10 Research: The Benefits of Mobilane Green Screens in reducing pollution

Research Initiative with Atkins:  Preliminary Findings

Mobilane Hedera helix green screens reduce PM10 particles

Download the full white paper of preliminary findings: Mobilane Green Screen Atkins PM10 Research BID Final Report (PDF – July 2015)

Our Mobilane Green Screens have been developed with security, air-cleansing and aesthetics as their core benefits.  It is vital to maintain continuous development of our products and to investigate and understand their use and scope in landscaping and construction projects.  In this way, we can continue to offer the most effective natural solutions to improve a landscape’s surroundings, air quality and overall environment.

2000px-Atkins_LogoIn partnership with another leading authority in design and engineering within the built environment, Atkins, we installed Mobilane Green Screens, woven and intertwined with ivy, in a Birmingham City Centre location at the end of April 2015.

What is PM10?

Particle pollution, also called particulate matter or PM, is a mixture of solids and liquid droplets floating in the air.  Some particles are released directly from a specific source, while others form in complicated chemical reactions in the atmosphere. Particles come in a wide range of sizes.

Particles less than or equal to 10 micrometers in diameter are so small that they can get into the lungs, potentially causing serious health problems. Ten micrometers is less than the width of a single human hair.  Coarse dust particles (PM10) are 2.5 to 10 micrometers in diameter.

Atkins & Mobilane Research

Staffordshire University LogoStaffordshire Green Wall Centre logoIn this research project conducted in 2015, Mobilane Green Screens fitted to existing pedestrian guarding were piloted by Atkins with funding by the Southside Business Improvement District in Birmingham.  Their installation was primarily to improve the visual amenity of the A38 (Bristol Street), as well as making a contribution to improving the air quality of the area.

The Resources

The Green Wall Centre at Staffordshire University provided expertise in the visualisation of particulates on leaves to demonstrate that the ivy screens were capable of capturing air-borne pollutants.  In this study, the research team examined leaves for contamination by PM10 to PM1.0; smaller particulates can be visualised but would require more resources than necessary for this first evaluation of Mobilane Green Screen effectiveness.

As a baseline comparison, ‘clean’ leaf samples were taken from a nursery in a rural environment growing Mobilane Green Screens, and compared with the particulate loads on Mobilane Green Screens planted along the A38.

Mobilane Green Screen PM10 ivy-samples pm10 green screens

The Pilot Study

The pilot study used fibre glass rods with aluminium stubs attached to them.  The particulates were captured by the adhesive tabs attached to the stubs.
The rods were placed at different heights on either side of the screen.  Images were captured using the ESEM and processed with software to assess the size range and the particle counts.

pm10 green screens
The JEOL 6610 Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope used to photograph particulate matter directly from the leaves.

Sample ivy leaves were taken before the screens were installed and then again, one month later.  The differences in captured PM10 and PM2.5 particles were then studied, comparing the levels before exposure to pollution in this busy urban environment – and then one month after installing the Mobilane Green Screens.

Backscattered ESEM image of  sample ivy leaves from the nursery (left) and sample leaves from the Roadside of the A38 (Bristol Street) in Birmingham (right) – clearly more particles in the roadside leaves.

Results so far

Mobilane Green Screen Atkins PM10 Research BID Final Report July2015
Mobilane Green Screen Atkins PM10 Research BID Final Report July 2015

Full results are yet to be published.  Early analysis shows that the Mobilane Green Screens, superior in plant density and construction than other green screen options, remove particulate pollution.  This was in the order of between 40-60% in some sample locations.   Full scale field trials will be needed to validate these results statistically, but these initial findings are indeed of great interest in a quest to offer a natural screening option to reduce the harsh effects of urban pollution.

Download the full white paper of preliminary findings: Mobilane Green Screen Atkins PM10 Research BID Final Report (PDF – July 2015)

Further Information

For further information, please subscribe to our newsletter.  Updates on new products, new projects and new product developments will be sent to you – but never spam.

You can also contact our Technical Sales Team to discuss the research findings and the options available to you for your next Mobilane Green Screen project.

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