Korean engineers unlock the pollution-reducing potential of photocatalytic concrete, making way for cleaner and greener roads. Discover how these innovations could revolutionise the fight against air pollution.
Researchers at the Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology (KICT) have made a breakthrough discovery that could revolutionise the fight against air pollution, demonstrating the impressive capacity of photocatalytic concrete to mitigate pollution in traffic tunnels.
Photocatalytic concrete, treated with a titanium dioxide coating, is capable of converting harmful pollutants in the surrounding air into benign substances. This innovative concrete transforms the likes of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and ammonia, into harmless salts, which are subsequently washed away by rainfall.
The titanium dioxide in the concrete reacts with sunlight or artificial light to produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) – molecules with potent oxidising power that decompose air pollutants and hinder the production of fine particulate matter.
In a series of experiments within a traffic tunnel, the KICT team discovered that nitrogen oxides levels dropped by an impressive 18% over a 24-hour period. Additionally, the researchers found that this photocatalytic process can function indefinitely, requiring no additional maintenance compared to regular concrete.
Looking forward, the research team aims to optimise the photocatalytic concrete’s effectiveness, and commercialise the technology, as some previous trials managed to reduce nitrogen oxide levels by up to 70% when integrated with graphene.
Dr Jong-Won Kwark, the lead researcher on the project, anticipates that this groundbreaking technology can significantly decrease fine particulate matter in the local environment. The team is working towards building collaborations with local governments and public corporations to expand trial demonstrations, aiming to achieve widespread practical application.
This innovative development underpins the potential of photocatalytic concrete as an efficient and eco-friendly method for pollution control, demonstrating how technology can advance the transition towards a greener and cleaner environment.
- Photocatalytic concrete, treated with a titanium dioxide coating, is capable of converting harmful pollutants in the surrounding air into benign substances
- The titanium dioxide in the concrete reacts with sunlight or artificial light to produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) – molecules with potent oxidising power that decompose air pollutants and hinder the production of fine particulate matter.
- In a series of experiments within a traffic tunnel, the KICT team discovered that nitrogen oxides levels dropped by an impressive 18% over a 24-hour period.
- What is self cleaning concrete?
- What is the difference between normal concrete and self cleaning concrete?
- How is self cleaning concrete made?
- How does photocatalytic concrete work?
Photocatalytic concrete is a cutting-edge material that harnesses the power of light to perform catalytic reactions, leading to environmental and aesthetic benefits. This concrete comprises a specific type of cement enriched with titanium dioxide (TiO2), a substance which acts as a photocatalyst.
When exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light, typically from the sun, the titanium dioxide in the concrete catalyses a reaction, breaking down pollutants and contaminants in the air into harmless compounds. This innovative process leads to a self-cleaning effect, ensuring that the concrete maintains a clean and new appearance over time.
Moreover, this photocatalytic reaction also has the potential to reduce atmospheric pollution in urban settings, hence contributing to cleaner air and environmental sustainability.