‘Life-saving solution’ for traffic pollution set for UK pilot

Tech entrepreneur and founder of Pollution Solution, Thomas Delgado, has plans to install cat’s eye-style filters at all majorly polluting junctions across the UK, with a view to reduce pollution and bring the UK inside the legal air limits.

The system can capture around 30% of dangerous pollutants (including brake dust particles as well as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter generated by engines) and recycle it into 99% clean air at the roadside.

The pilot, expected to cost approximately £90,000, will initially take place in London and target areas where vehicles sit with idling engines or are in slow moving traffic, such as outside schools or at traffic lights, pedestrian crossings and busy junctions.


Pollution Solution is now seeking to finalise a suitable commercial partner to carry out the pilot installation and the UK wide rollout. Thomas Delgado said: “Whilst we are enthused by the initial interest, we have received from both the public and private sector, it is imperative for us to find a suitable, long term commercial partner that can install the system quickly to minimise disruption to the public. It is key that our partner has the ability to cover the whole of the UK so we can really make a big impact on air quality, very quickly.”

Around 40,000 people die prematurely every year from pollution related illnesses and this ground-breaking invention has potential to change that – not just in the UK but in international territories too. 

Since launching Pollution Solution into the public domain just two weeks ago, Thomas has been contacted by a number of local authorities across the UK and several major companies from America, Hong Kong and Belgium. Thomas Delgado said: “The international interest we have received is great, but as this is a UK innovation, we are really keen to see it implemented here first, before we start to focus on the rest of the world.”

Despite the government pledging to tackle roadside emissions with a £220m Clean Air Fund, to date there have been very little allocations made towards innovative technology that will help solve the issue, which is now costing the NHS more than £20bn a year

Thomas Delgado said: “This is a pro-active and robust approach to resolving the health crisis that we are currently facing. Millions of pounds have been spent across hundreds of studies and they all have very similar conclusions – road pollution is directly causing illnesses and deaths. With over 40,000 new cases of people suffering from serious pollution related illnesses every year, this is no time to procrastinate,  we must take action now across the whole of the country, starting with the worst affected areas first.”

According to Delgado, the implementation of London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone and the increasing use of electric cars, is not having the impact everyone thinks: “Just 0.5% of UK registered vehicles are electric and the remaining 99.5% are fossil fuelled. It is unrealistic to think that these vehicles will be phased out overnight and we therefore require an interim solution to ensure we meet legal air limits now. It is proven that living nearby a busy polluting road reduces life expectancy as well as the value of your home. The new Ultra-Low Emission Zone will certainly reduce these problems, but it is inevitable that many vehicles will simply take new routes to avoid the fines, this will move the problem from one place to another.”

Thomas is continuing discussions with local authorities and hopes to secure a commercial partner within weeks.

About Pollution Solution

Pollution Solution is a revolutionary, yet simple technology which will reduce the amount of pollution we breathe in towns and cities. It works by “pulling in” air pollution at junctions, crossroads, traffic lights and outside schools.

A series of pods which are installed into the roadway (that look a bit like cats eyes) suck in polluted air from vehicles. They capture very high levels of pollution as they are positioned so closely to the exhausts of vehicles.

The majority of harmful pollution which enters our atmosphere in cities is caused by slow or stationary traffic – Pollution Solution mitigates this.

Whilst we are moving towards banning fossil fuelled vehicles by 2040, we need an interim measure to get us through the next 20+ years and to bring the forecast death toll of at least 200,000 people down.

How Does It Work?

The system is simple in design and minimal in moving parts. It also only utilises components and materials which would normally be found in the roadway, such as ducting and rubber covered steel plates.

A small channel is cut into the middle of the road, air duct pipes are laid and connected to the “pod heads” which will sit partially submerged in the road (they sit slightly above the roadway to minimise water getting in). The pipework is then connected underground to an air station which sits discretely on the pavement and is roughly the size of a large bin or phone box. The road is then backfilled with asphalt and the pod heads are installed. The air station is then connected to power and the system is ready to operate. The system can be installed in under 24 hours.

Once operational, the system works by pulling in vast amounts of air whilst vehicles sit idle (or are in slow traffic) above. These vehicles pump out dirty air which then enters the pod head and travels through the pipework and into the air station. The air passes through a series of scrubbers and filters within the air station and then leaves as 99% clean air.

About the founder

Thomas Delgado invented Pollution Solution at the age of 26 and spent three years developing and testing the technology before bringing it to market. Originally from Hertfordshire, Delgado is a serial entrepreneur, who made his first million at 21 years old.

Find out more: Pollution Solution

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