The Italian inventor of the “smog-eating” concrete continues to garner awards for his innovative solution to cutting air pollution. According to the European branch of the environmental protection agency, the invention is a major innovation in construction materials with tremendous value for the cities of the future.
Air pollution has been a problem in almost every city, especially major cities for years. Researchers have documented the effects of exhaust fumes not only to the environment by also to our health. Thanks to one man, inventor and chemist Luigi Cassar and his team, the exteriors of buildings can stay cleaning longer, help neutralize pollution and improve outside air quality.
How does it work? By combining a thin layer of cement coating with sunlight and that is as simple as it gets. By harnessing solar energy to effectively break down harmful chemicals before they form a residue on the surfaces scientists created cement based mixtures containing substances called photocatalysts. The principle is simple, use naturally occurring sunlight to break down pollutants into substances that are less harmful and washed away by rainwater. The product not only cleans concrete, it also cleans the surrounding air.
Amazingly, the smog eating properties were an unexpected side effect since scientists were working on a project that mainly focused on the self-cleaning properties of cement. The breakthrough came when titanium oxide minerals were added to the cement mixtures. One of the first projects to receive the revolutionary mixture was the 1996 construction of the Dives in Misericordia church in Rome. During the construction process, air samples confirmed that the air around the new building structure was less contaminated than before construction.
Scientific testing and research confirms the smog-eating properties. According to one particular study, walls that are coated in the product will reduce nitrogen oxide content in the surrounding air by as much as 70%. It should be noted that nitrogen oxides contribute to the formation of low-lying smog. Researchers calculated that based on a city the size of Milan with just 15% of the surfaces coated in the revolutionary cement mixture, air pollution could be reduced by as much as 50%. To put numbers in perspective, the application of just under 1200 square yards of product would be equivalent to planting eighty evergreen trees.
The Italian inventor’s product has been on the market since 2006 and is marketed as TX Active. The product met international acclaim with the application of the Palazzo Italia – Expo 2015 iconic building. The external surfaces along with part of the internal surfaces will be built using the cement which includes the smog-eating TX Active. The revolutionary self-cleaning properties make the product especially appealing to construction and modernization projects throughout the modern world.