What if scrubbing pollution out of the air was as easy as laying down specially coated paving slabs? It soon might be – at least for one German city that is experiencing toxic levels of nitrogen oxide caused by vehicle emissions. To remedy this dangerous problem, the city of Fulda is laying down special paving slabs coated in titanium dioxide nanoparticles that are purportedly able to cut down on the amount of nitrogen oxide in the air.
The slabs, developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology, convert nitrogen oxide into nitrates using a photocatalytic mechanism (titanium dioxide acts as a photocatalyst). According to Fraunhofer, the slabs work well over time, and testing has shown that no changes will occur in the slabs’ degradation capabilities even after 23 months of use. Incredibly, these slabs can scrub out up to 70% of nitrogen monoxide and dioxide in the air.