THE HAGUE: A road in a small Dutch town is to be paved with air-purifying concrete in a trial that could lead to a new method to fight exhaust pollution.
Experts from the University of Twente in The Netherlands developed and tested the concrete paving stones which contain a titanium dioxide-based catalyst.
In laboratory conditions, the additive – under the influence of sunlight – binds the nitrogen oxide particles emitted by car exhausts and turns them into harmless nitrates.
“With one rain shower everything is washed clean,” the institution said in a statement.
Nitrogen oxides, produced by industry and motor vehicles, are among the main air pollutants that lead to acid rain and smog.
Developed from a Japanese invention, the bricks are now being put to the test in Hengelo in the eastern Dutch province of Overijssel.
One half of a road under reconstruction is being paved with the new, green bricks, and the other half with the ordinary variety. “By measuring the air quality in both areas, we will be able to show the efficacy of the bricks,” said the scientists.
Apart for their ability to clean the air and repel dirt from the road surface, there is no other difference between the new bricks and the old ones, the university said.
“The province of Overijssel sees an opportunity in these bricks to improve air quality,” it added. “This trial project is of great significance for the entire country.”
The road is expected to be finished by year-end. The first air measurements will be taken early next year, with results expected next summer.
Well ain’t that some cool shizzle? It looks like us humans can keep on doing what we’re doing and just find ways to ‘clean up’ after ourselves. I wonder what kind of crazy off-gassing this saturated concrete will give off fifty years from now…hehehe. Oh wait, that’s not funny. This is definitely cool though. And sadly, another example of progress that eludes the United States and pushes Europe ever forward. Too bad they don’t have California…or I’d have moved a while ago.
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