The Forest Hill Society shared an update from the Horniman Museum yesterday about their new planting area with plantings designed for bees as well as bee hotels - sounds amazing as does the sculpture that cleans some air pollution.
Full update is on bee area is
In the update, it also says the garden toilets are now open again.
That sculpture sounds pretty cool and has some amazing properties.
I found out more about the sculptor and material at this in-depth article from 2019, which discusses a similar sculpture (called Breathe) in Euston last year:
Described as a quantum artist, Pradissitto has a PhD from University College London (UCL) on the quantum behaviour of silicon in fibre optics and studied a foundation degree in fine art at Goldsmiths College, then went on to do a BA in fine art at the Sir John Cass art school, embracing the dual worlds of the scientist and the artist.
“In the day I was going to UCL and in the evening I was going to Goldsmiths,” says Pradissitto. “When I finished UCL, I knew I didn’t want to do research anymore, I knew that being an artist is what I wanted to do.”
The sculpture, called ‘Breathe’, is made from an inorganic material – a geopolymer known as NoxTek – supplied by cleantech company Alsitek. It is a zero-carbon polymer made from natural and sustainable minerals which has a high degree of nano-porosity and grabs the nitrogen dioxide molecules from the air, and so purifies it.
The capacity to absorb is extremely high and even at the highest concentrations in Britain’s heavily polluted cities, each kilogram of material can clean over a million cubic metres of air before getting saturated. Water molecules dissolve the nitrogen and wash it away every time it rains (in the form of a “very, very dilute acid”), thus regenerating the material ready to absorb the same amount again.
Alsitek, however, did not discover geopolymer. In fact, in 1979 French materials scientist Professor Joseph Davidovits invented the inorganic material, seeking to use it as a fireproof building material.
The geopolymer went under the radar until around the end of the 2000s, when Michael Reid, technical consultant and co-founder of Alsitek, rediscovered the material while working at the Centre for Sustainable Engineering alongside his colleague Phil Shephard. Unlike Davidovits, Reid and Shephard discovered the material’s pollution-absorbing abilities.
Amazing stuff. I wonder how many other materials are out there waiting to be rediscovered in the context of today’s problems.