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Since nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is heavier than air it can be captured into long ducts where it is filtered through activated carbon and stored.

Driving bans are not the best solution to pollution

Around the world we see partial driving bans imposed in cities to try and combat the ever increasing pollution levels. When we had the opportunity to participate in a project that might have the alternative solution to these problems, we were immediately interested. In this interview, we meet Mr. Christoph Kronhagel, who is a Graduate Engineer and Architect, and also the Managing Director of air2public GmbH. From Jacobi Carbons, we have Dr. Roland K. Wildner, who is a Strategy Consultant for Jacobi Carbons GmbH.

Christoph Kronhagel, developer of the smartAIR system and founder of air2public.

Dr. Roland K. Wildner, Strategy Consultant of Jacobi GMBH.

What was the motivation for taking up this activity and for founding the company air2public?

Kronhagel: There are actually two main reasons. On the one hand, I followed the public discussions that are going on both in Germany and other countries due to pollution of the environment by nitrogen oxides and fine dust with a certain degree of concern, and, increasingly, on driving bans in individual cities especially for diesel vehicles. On the other hand, as an engineer, I felt challenged to offer solutions to these problems with innovative technology.

Dr. Wildner, what inspired Jacobi to get involved in this project which is a little different from Jacobi’s usual business?

Wildner: This activity is actually not that strange to us. Jacobi Carbons deals with a large number of diverse activated carbon qualities to a considerable extent with application areas that serve environmental protection. One can even say that the fields of work for cleaning air, gas and water make up the largest share by far.

In this respect, the idea of making a contribution to the technologies of air2public, especially since their cleaning concept is based on the use of a special activated carbon made from coconut shells, for which Jacobi Carbons is the largest manufacturer worldwide, makes real sense.

In addition, the project offers Jacobi Carbons the welcome opportunity to become directly visible to the public as a partner in new solution concepts, that serve the people.


Jacobi Carbons in Germany is committed as technology partner to the company air2public for measures to purify street air. In this context, Jacobi Carbons is also a shareholder of the company to make an active contribution to a cleaner environment.

We understand your tech is new to market, but what are the advantages compared to other solutions?

Kronhagel: As a new company you always have to face established competition; it is no different for us. That is why, with Jacobi Carbons, we have selected the best company as our technology partner that is available in Germany and Europe.

With their experience and know-how, we were able to develop a very innovative filter technology in which the use of activated carbon is controlled digitally and with high efficiency.

It should be emphasised that this special activated carbon from Jacobi Carbons is made from the ecological raw material coconut shells and is 100% carbon dioxide (CO2) neutral in production and application. This is not the case with the technologies of the competitors.

Another difference to the competition is that we do not suck in the emissions at the filter system itself, but along the road through a canal. Since nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is heavier than air, the high NO2 concentrations can be better captured and filtered.

One more special effect is that the outside of the individual cleaning units can be used for advertising purposes, which results in additional income for the operators, who mostly are local authorities, allowing to compensate operating costs to a large extent. My experience from previous activities in the media sector is helpful for this.

What is the long term strategy of Jacobi Carbons for this field of work?

Wildner: Jacobi Carbons pursues with particular intensity all measures serving to maintain ecological conditions on our planet. The title of our new Magazine: A Pure World makes this clear. Jacobi Carbons promotes all ideas that serve sustainability and the protection of the environment.

Despite all efforts of environmentalists and citizens’ initiatives, road traffic will continue to be indispensable for the mobile society in the future, and the pollution caused by road traffic will not completely disappear even if the number of electric vehicles will increase.

Electric vehicles also generate fine dust, e.g. through tire abrasion, and in combination with hybrid vehicles, the emission of nitrogen oxides cannot be avoided entirely. With this engagement, Jacobi Carbons positions itself clearly on the side of the “Cleaning Lobby”, and would like to better illustrate contributions that Jacobi Carbons can make in this context through the direct appearance in public.

“Jacobi Carbons can be very helpful with our worldwide network.”

Filter system for the reduction of NO2 and fine dust removal in places that are threatened by a driving ban if the limit value is exceeded.

What are your plans for the international market?

Kronhagel: It stands to reason that, as a German company, we initially focus on the German market. There are municipalities in Germany where driving bans are threatened because limit values for nitrogen oxides and fine dust are exceeded. We prove the concept of the technology in Germany first before rolling out to projects internationally.

There are already inquiries for our technology from other European countries, but also distant countries, such as Hong Kong. However, the Corona crisis is currently an obstacle for processing these markets in detail.

How do you see the activities of Jacobi Carbons for this technology abroad?

Wildner: It is understandable that Mr. Kronhagel and his company are initially concentrating on the development of the technology and its adaption to the individual requirements of interested parties in Germany and their local authorities.

The human resources of air2public are currently still limited. For sales activities abroad, Jacobi Carbons can be very helpful with our worldwide network of branches and representative offices. The central offices in European countries and overseas have already been informed.

Since Jacobi Carbons is not only the technology partner of air2public but also holds financial shares in the company, this activity is also understood by our international offices as an integrated sales task of Jacobi Carbons.

Thanks to Dr. Wildner and Mr. Kronhagel for this interview. We’ll be sure to keep you informed of future developments on this project across the various Jacobi platforms.

If you want to know more about this project, please go to the website for the latest updates,

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