Air Quality air pollution scrubbing roof tiles

Published on September 18th, 2014 | by Jo Borrás


Air Pollution–Scrubbing Roof Tiles Get Real

September 18th, 2014 by  

Despite the advancements made in regulating low-emission cars and city buses, air pollution remains a deadly killer — and a highly visible threat! — across the world. What’s needed, ultimately, isn’t just technology that reduces the amount of pollution we put into the air, but that actually cleans the air around us. That was the motivation behind a team of engineering students at the University of California who coated ceramic roofing tiles with titanium dioxide, a catalyst that enables the roof tiles to actually reduce the amount of air pollution wherever they’re installed.

This sci-fi quality new material was covered earlier this week by Steve Hanley, over at our sister site, Green Building Elements, as part of the site’s ongoing Green Materials Report series. You can read more about it, below. Enjoy!


Green Materials Report – Smog Eating Roof Tiles

air pollution scrubbing roof tiles

A team of students at the University of California – Riverside have devised a way to create roof tiles that actively destroy smog. Scientists tell us that smog is caused primarily by sunlight interacting with the nitrogen oxide gas emitted by vehicles and electric generating stations. Titanium dioxide reacts with nitrogen oxide, converting it into less reactive compounds.

The secret is to spray a coating of titanium dioxide on the clay roofing tiles so popular in southern California. When the tiles are installed, they break down 88 – 97% of the nitrogen oxide smog and air pollution that they come in contact with into non-photo reactive elements, thereby reducing the formation of smog. One roof coated with titanium dioxide could offset the nitrogen oxide emitted by driving a gasoline powered car 11,000 miles. The best part is that the titanium dioxide used in these air-scrubbing roof tiles is both plentiful and cheap! The students who developed the tiles estimate that coating all the tiles needed for a typical suburban roof would add just a few dollars to the total cost of materials.

The UC students’ work has already won them a $15,000 prize from the EPA – but they aren’t done yet. They want to take their smog-beating research further and add a titanium dioxide coating to exterior paint, concrete and even highway dividers. That’s changing the world!

Source | Images: Inhabitat

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About the Author

I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the Important Media network. You can find me on Twitter, Skype (jo.borras) or Google+.

  • Marion Meads

    Ha ha! As I have suspected, the author quickly added the details about Titanium dioxide. The original article only ended with enjoy! Gotcha! You should give me full credit for my quick comments and to the point.

    • LovingMsMeads

      I’m sure that someone would be perfectly willing to give you a pat on the back congratulating you for your contribution. But you are so quick to do it for yourself that they don’t get a chance.

  • Marion Meads

    Something even better than this has long been discovered. You can coat any surface with cheap nanoparticles of Titanium Dioxide, it is abundant pigment used in paint, just make the nano particle version. What happens at the surface in the presence of light is that it quickly degrades pollutants, it kills microbes, it eliminates odors by disintegrating organic molecules in the air. It is an excellent reusable photocatalyst. It is very safe that hospitals, wineries, restaurants spray them on the surfaces and to sterilize or eliminate odors, just shine light on the surface. There are devices that sterilizes air by passing it through a tube coated with nanoparticles of Titanium Dioxide, and has baffles so air is thoroughly mixed, and at the same time light is passed thru it, and the result is sterile clean fresh air.

    So what is really new in this article? Did they just spray this on tiles and then eureka it is a new thing? The article should at least point out if it something new and more outstanding than nanoparticles of titanium dioxide.

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