28 November 2019

Moss walls for improving air quality

Utrecht student wins innovation competition on air pollution

The start-up 4 MOSST, including Utrecht student Thimo Hillenius, won the Copenhagen open innovation call last summer. This international student team was formed during the Climate-KIC summer school, where they proposed a plan to combat air pollution and several climate change related problems in cities. They are developing a paint with moss spores that can be applied to walls in cities, where the growing moss can offer some interesting health benefits.

The 4MOSST-team

Master student Thimo Hillenius of the Bio Inspired Innovation Master’s programme attended the Climate-KIC summer school, an innovation program in which more than four hundred participants attended a program at various top universities in Europe for four weeks. Hillenius joined forces with students Rianne Vastenhouw, Murod Saymudinov and Reyes González-Montagut Siljeström to establish 4MOSST.

The 4MOSST-team envisioned a paint that contains moss spores which can be applied to walls to grow a green layer of moss. Next to reducing loud city noises, this organic green layer can capture particulate matter from the air, metabolize nitrogen compounds and even store rainwater. This way, more (unused) city walls can help mitigate the urban heat island effect and offer sewage relieve during heavy rain events.

Their ideas to collaborate with nature did not go unnoticed, since they were invited to pitch their idea during the C40 Mayors summit in Copenhagen. Out of the 5 finalists, 4MOSST was announced as the winner of the “Copenhagen access cities open innovation call on air quality and urban heat island effect”.

Energized with the support and encouragement of city representatives from Aarhus, München, New York and Singapore, 4MOSST is continuing the development of their young business. The team is currently in the research phase and open to collaborations concerning prototypes and testing locations. For now, it is a matter of time before cities start to grow their own fresh air.