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Project puts gardens on bus roofs to purify city air

Green project Phyto Kinetic aims to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions in the air -- while adding a little color to concrete jungles.

Phyto Kinetic

Imagine a bus that not only gets passengers from point A to point B, but purifies air in the process.

That's the concept behind landscape artist Marc Granen's prototype Phyto Kinetic project in Spain, which sees gardens installed on the roofs of buses to improve urban ecosystems by purifying city air. This is achieved through oxygen produced by the plants placed on the buses -- and hopefully other vehicles in the future. The gardens can also improve the aesthetics of city life by adding a dash of color and aroma to the concrete surroundings.

According to initial tests, the Phyto Kinetic project apparently serves as an energy-saving alternative too, as it keeps the buses about 38 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than a regular one.

Basically, hydroponic foam is used in place of soil as a base for the plants as it reduces the weight put on the bus. Various plants suitable for a country's climate are then placed on top of the foam. To prevent water from leaking into the interior of the bus, the rooftop is waterproofed and designed to capture condensation from air conditioning for irrigation purposes.

While a single bus with a garden roof can't possibly solve global warming, the Phyto Kinetic project is definitely a move in the right direction (NYU student Marco Antonio Castro Cosio mounted a similar project in New York called Bus Roots). Granen is currently in discussions with an auto company to mass produce the concept throughout Barcelona.

Phyto Kinetic