Air-purifying concrete could clean up Dutch cities
A newly-developed air-purifying concrete may be the answer to cleaner roads in Netherlands.5 August 2008
THE NETHELRANDS - The air in Dutch cities could be kept clean by the road itself in future.
In a trial in the city of Hengelo in the east of the Netherlands, a street is being paved with air-purifying concrete to test an invention developed by the University of Twente.
Car exhaust fumes contain nitrogen oxide. These chemicals are responsible for causing acid rain, which can damage buildings and harm forests. They also help to produce smog, or ground-level ozone, which can cause serious respiratory problems for city-dwellers.
The paving stones developed by the Twente team are based on a Japanese invention. They contain a titanium dioxide-based additive, which under the influence of sunlight converts nitrogen oxide into nitrates. Washed away by rainwater, these can then act as fertiliser. The new paving stones also repel dirt, so the street stays clean.
The paving stones work perfectly in the lab, so it was decided to see how they would work in practice. A busy Hengelo street will be divided into two sections, one half with air-purifying paving stones and the other half with conventional ones. Researchers will then compare the air quality in each section.
The new road should be finished by the end of 2008, and the first results of the test are expected in summer 2009.
[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]
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