Buildings that take apart smog?

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Buildings that take apart smog?

Postby meteorite » Wed May 18, 2011 6:17 pm

Yes, that's the promise in a new product from Alcoa. Actually in one sense it isn't that new; the research has been going on for well over a decade, with the general objective of developing catalytic smog-splitting coatings for highway guard rails, automobile radiators, or similar applications. Making buildings into catalytic converters is something new.

But according to a recent press release, seems that is the direction they are going in now, with greatest interest in Japan - perhaps being downwind of China has something to do with it. Here's Tech Republic's summary:

Alcoa on Monday launched a coil-coated architectural panel that helps clean itself and the air around it.

Called “Reynobond with EcoClean,” the product is a partnership between the aluminum giant and design-forward Japanese manufacturer Toto.

Alcoa says the panels reduce maintenance costs and helps decompose smog and other pollutants in the air that cling to building surfaces, from dirt to diesel fumes.

How effective is the technology? About 10,000 square feet of the panels can clean the air as well as 80 medium-sized deciduous trees, Alcoa says. It’s enough to offset four cars each day.

You can imagine the applications of this green building technology: Times Square would glimmer a little brighter. Ultra-high skyscrapers wouldn’t need to hire daring window cleaners to keep floor-to-ceiling windows transparent. And, at scale, a smog-choked Los Angeles could breathe a bit easier.

At the core of the concept is a proprietary process that takes Toto’s patented Hydrotect technology — which helps keep microbes at bay on that company’s toilets, bath tubs and other bathroom fixtures — and applies it to a hydrophilic titanium dioxide coating on the pre-painted aluminum surface of a Reynobond panel.

The result: an aluminum panel that, in the presence of sunlight, acts as a catalyst to break down organic pollutants on its surface and in the air around it. Once broken down, rainwater simply rinses them a
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