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In urban areas, both smog and pavement seem to dominate the landscape. While the two may seem like separate and distinct elements of the city ecosystem, the air and ground could potentially be linked together to help reduce overall pollution. Dutch scientists from the Eindhoven University of Technology have invented a new method to clear the atmosphere by treating paving blocks with titanium oxide. The special “photocatalytic pavement” was amazingly able to cut smog in half compared to a control.

smog, air pollution, urban, eindhoven university of technology, pavement, road

Over the course of a year in the city of Hengelo in the Netherlands, researchers found that the pavement was able to reduce smog by 45 percent in ideal conditions, and 19 percent throughout the day. By coating paving blocks in titanium oxide, the pavement pulls harmful nitrogen oxides out of the air and converts them into less dangerous chemicals such as nitrates.The team published their findings in the June edition of the Journal of Hazardous Materials.

Although the technology has previously been introduced in 2008 by the Italian company, Italcementi, the research from the Netherlands is helping to increase the visibility and momentum of a novel new remediation technique. The catalysts do tend to become less effective over time, and cost about 10 percent more than conventional cement. While the invention is not a substitute for the overall reduction of air pollution, it has the potential for helping to curb a great deal of car and industrial emissions in areas most burdened by bad air.

+ Eindhoven University of Technology

Via The Los Angeles Times

Images via Wikicommons users Zakysant and Saperaud.