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Entries in Prius car factory (1)

Monday
Nov092009

Plants That Eat Pollution

Salvia lamiacia Kirsch PinkAir pollution is an issue that few are ready to tackle. In Japan, however, Toyota is researching horticultural solutions to address this matter. They believe that certain enhanced species of plant life may contribute to improving the environment.

The Biotechnology and Afforestation division of Toyota is responsible for developing flowers that absorb air pollution. One such plant is the Kirsch Pink Shrub, related to the Cherry Sage, Salvia lamiacea, a semi-evergreen shrub with a long flowering period.

Together with Gardenia, Salvia now grows in the area surrounding the Prius car factory in Tokyo City. Both are utilized to absorb emissions from that building. By doing so, they also remove heat from the atmosphere. This lowers the surface temperature surrounding the factory, which in turn cuts down on energy requirements for cooling. In addition to Gardenia and Salvia, other plants included in the program to improve atmospheric conditions are Asteraceae chameomelum Cruz, and Heterophylla, aka Lamium lavandula Argent.

It is hoped that the plants will prove helpful in combating the “heat island effect”. This condition causes increased temperatures in cities due to buildings and infrastructure deflecting sunlight and heat. The expectation is that pollution-eating plants in city parks and streets will absorb both emissions and heat. This should result in improved atmospheric conditions for congested urban areas.

Salvia Kirsch pink is not available anywhere but in Japan and I have been unable to find data relating to its hardiness zone or growing conditions. Furthermore, there have been no other press releases about this project since October 2005. I think it’s time for Toyota to give us an update on this project.