UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 11: Sustainable Cities & Communities

2020 Global Design Challenge Finalist

This design concept was developed by participants in the Institute’s Global Design Challenge. The descriptions below are from the team’s competition entry materials.

Location: Tainan, Taiwan
Team members: Janet Chao, Cheng-Long, Ching Yang, Hsin-Han Chou, Pei-Chen Lin, Rong Chao, Yi-Tse Shih, Yu-Chen Chien

Diagram of artificial filter feeding mechanism with text explanation of structure and
Image: Project Team / RICOCHET / Copyright © - All rights reserved

Innovation Details

What is the problem you are trying to solve and how is it related to the united nations sustainable development goals?

Our emphasis is to reduce fine particulate matter (PM2.5) by improving present particulate matter filter and create a better living place. People live in hustle and bustle cities and metropolitan every day. Most urban populations are exposed to unsafe air and result in premature mortality. Various human activities could lead to PM2.5, air pollution increases with population growth, which is unignorable and unacceptable. However, modern filtration systems have many defects such as clogging, low efficiency, high energy consumption, and frequent maintenance requirement, which is not sustainable at all. Goal 11 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. We aim to solve the problem and greet a wonderful world with fresh air.

What organisms/natural systems did you learn from and how did what you learned inform your design?

After searching for filtering strategies in nature, we eventually choose a filter-feeding mechanism, which called ricochet separation, of Manta ray to . Their highly specialized filter lobes could concentrate plankton in front of the esophagus and manta rays swallow every few minutes. Therefore, they can avoid consuming excessive seawater and still perform high filter efficiency. And the characteristic of ricochet separation which especially fascinated us is that it can filter particles smaller than the pore size, allow high flow rates, and resist clogging. Hence, we learned from the life principle of the manta ray to design our prototype. We imitated the gill raker of the Manta ray as the main filtering structure and its swallowing method as the way of collecting particles. To fit the life principle of Manta ray, an additional return channel was designed. It can make the process of concentrating particles more complete and solve the problem that the collector is enclosed space. Base on the above, expecting to design a sustainable particle collector that still reaches well filter efficiency.

What does your design solution do? How does it address the problem or opportunity you selected?

Our design solution is a sustainable PM2.5 filter. With manta-mimicking structure, the processor, RICOCHET, has great potential to filter PM2.5 successfully. While filtering physically, RICOCHET resists clogging, consumes low energy, and possess high filtering efficiency at the same time. By applying RICOCHET in various PM2.5 sources, the releasing process of PM2.5 can be blocked. Therefore, PM2.5 emission is reduced and people can live in cities with fresh air. Not only that, we expect that our processor, RICOCHET, can be applied to other sources of PM2.5 generation when it becomes more and more mature. Even actively filter PM2.5 that already in the air.