Students create smog-sucking roof tile to battle air pollution

UC Riverside
© UC Riverside

Air pollution is a health-endangering scourge in many traffic-congested cities like Los Angeles and Beijing. There could be many ways to tackle the problem; banning street vendors and selling expensive jars of "fresh mountain air" aren't among them. A team of students from University of California at Riverside have the right idea though: a smog-absorbing roof tile that would help eliminate the nitrogen oxide gas that is produced by cars and power plants.

Seen over at Inhabitat, the students' roof tile would help reduce air pollution through an inexpensive coating of titanium dioxide that would help break down nitrogen oxide into less harmful components. Since smog is caused by a set of complex photochemical reactions consisting of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), nitrogen oxides and sunlight, reducing the amount of nitrogen oxide in the air would improve air quality immensely.

© UC Riverside

The students found that this simple and common coating of titanium dioxide could remove 88 to 97 percent of nitrogen oxide from the atmosphere. A whole roof could be coated with titanium dioxide for USD $5.00, and could suck up the emissions of a car driven for 11,000 miles over a period of one year.

© UC Riverside

Their design recently won a prize for their idea at the Environmental Protection Agency's P3 student design competition -- and hopefully, could be applied on roofs, concrete, highways and exterior paint, of polluted cities the world over. More over at the EPA P3 Competition.

Tags: Air Pollution | Materials | Universities

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