Some observers are calling it "the photosynthesis bike." The bike of interest is only a concept, not even a prototype yet, from designers in Bangkok. Nonetheless, in concept alone, it has captured a lot if imaginations, press coverage, and even picked up an award in the 2013 Red Dot competition for design concept. Dubbed "Air Purifier Bike," from Bangkok-based Lightfog Creative and Design, the bicycle presents a next-level functionality to bicycles as environmentally sound vehicles—to the point where the rider not only uses a clean mode of transport but also helps to purify the air along with the ride. (The Red Dot Award for design concept is part of a professional design competition for design concepts and prototypes worldwide.)Silawat Virakul, Torsakul Kosaikul, and Suvaroj Poosrivongvanid are the designers behind the award-winning idea. They said their Air-Purifier Bike incorporates an air filter that screens dust and pollutants from the air, a photosynthesis system (including a water tank) that produces oxygen, an electric motor, and a battery. "While it is being ridden, air passes through the filter at the front of the bike, where it is cleaned before being released toward cyclist. The bike frame houses the photosynthesis system. When the bike is parked, the air-purifying functions can continue under battery power."
According to a report on the bicycle and the designers behind it on the Fast Company Co.Exist site, the designers presently have mock-ups, but they have not yet built a prototype; they plan to build one soon.
"We want to design products which can reduce the air pollution in the city. So we decided to design a bike because we thought that bicycles are environmentally friendly vehicles for transportation," said creative director Silawat Virakul in an email to Co.Exist.
"Riding a bicycle can reduce traffic jam[s] in a city," said Virakul. "Moreover, we wanted to add more value to a bicycle by adding its ability to reduce the pollution."
If they were to advance their concept, they would be responding to many urban dwellers who are growing increasingly aware that bicycles ease pollution and are taking to bicycles for short-distance transportation. Earlier this year, Lucintel, a consulting and market research firm, analyzed the global bicycle industry in "Global Bicycle Industry 2013-2018: Trends, Profit, and Forecast Analysis." They noted that government initiatives to promote cycling to reduce carbon emissions and noise pollution are a strong growth driver. In addition, bicycles' energy efficiency, coupled with cycling as a fitness activity, will help propel demand during the forecast period.