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Air Quality

Dutch Town Paving Street With Air-Purifying Concrete


Now here’s an innovation that might make me consider moving back to New York City: air-purifying concrete. The small Dutch town of Hengelo is testing out the concrete paving stones, which contain a titanium-dioxide based additive that binds to nitrogen particles emitted by car exhaust and turns them into harmless nitrates.

If the bricks work, pollutants such as acid rain and smog will be reduced.

The town is determining the effectiveness of the new concrete by paving one half of a road under construction with the “green” bricks, and one half with regular bricks. Air quality measurements will be taken early next year, and results should be available next summer.

While I look forward to successful results with the new technology, I sincerely hope that the green bricks won’t be used as an excuse to lower emissions standards. Air-purifying concrete should be looked at as a way to make air even cleaner than it already is, not as an excuse to let vehicles release more nitrogen oxides.

Photo Credit: PhysOrg

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Written By

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.


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