In the same way that forests are a carbon sink , the urban forest could do the same with the massive use of novel materials created for this purpose. Thanks to research on sustainable construction we can obtain new highly efficient materials for the decontamination of urban atmospheres. inventions to reduce air pollution
In effect, all of them are biomimetic proposals. Different but with a common objective: to absorb the polluting gases emitted into the atmosphere. Fundamentally, it is about eliminating greenhouse gases, toxic to the body and accelerators of global warming. inventions to reduce air pollution
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Invention to clean air pollution: removes CO2 and creates fuel inventions to reduce air pollution
The Canadian startup Carbon Engineering has had the financial support of Bill Gates to create an amazing invention. It is a plant that they have built in Vancouver with a double task: to extract CO2 from the air and create green energy .
Its operation consists of capturing carbon dioxide from the air using giant fans and chemical processes that allow it to be filtered. Eventually, it turns them into tiny granules that, in turn, bond with hydrogen to make fuel.
Its achievement, according to the company, is to be the first technology that can capture CO2 from the air on an environmentally relevant scale . The amount absorbed and its green energy production make it an alternative to solar energy, say its creators.
Its objective is to produce between 200 and 400 liters per day of gasoline or diesel. However, we do not know how much energy it needs to function or, for example, why it was designed to generate gasoline or diesel, ultimately fossil fuels. The answer to these questions would help to understand the true dimension of this invention. A priori, and despite its buts, it looks great. inventions to reduce air pollution
Large advertising banners are also strong candidates to act as CO2 sponges . The first was placed on Madrid’s Gran Via. It is a world first for its ability to “disintegrate” pollution. One of these canvases manages to absorb up to 85% of greenhouse gases , such as methane and nitrogen oxide (NOX), the equivalent of the absorption that we would achieve with a thousand trees during a year.
The cosmetic company Shiseido, the oldest in the world and at the same time innovative, has decided to install it in the center of Madrid. A very interesting point, taking into account the rebound in pollution it is experiencing and, therefore, the associated media attention.
Its trick is none other than being impregnated with titanium dioxide (TIO2), a material that is receiving a lot of attention in recent years in the area of environmental purification. Briefly explained , its properties are due to photocatalysis , a decomposition reaction formed when TIO2 acts as a catalyst using light energy. Specifically, when ultraviolet rays, produced by sunlight, encounter organic matter on the surface of TIO2, it sterilizes various bacteria and purifies the air. inventions to reduce air pollution
Let us remember here that photocatalysis is a process similar to photosynthesis in plants , which breaks down carbon dioxide in the presence of light. Thanks to this, the tarpaulin eliminates greenhouse gases for about five years. It is also relatively durable.
To learn more about this environmental problem and its possible solutions, such as these tarps, we encourage you to read these other posts on What gases produce the greenhouse effect and where they come from and also How to reduce greenhouse gases . inventions to reduce air pollution
These bricks, on the other hand, have a triple virtue : they are easy to manufacture, extremely resistant (with greater traction than concrete) and they capture the CO2 inside. But why these features?
Above all, to withstand seismic episodes. In fact, it was presented after the Japanese earthquakes of 2011. Therefore, a material was sought for rapid manufacture, which would serve to rehabilitate disaster areas quickly. They are made with sand rich in silicon and, since they require CO2 for their manufacture , since this is injected with silicon, they constitute a sink for this polluting gas.
An initiative similar to that of researcher Brent Constanz, who seeks to imitate coral to make cements from CO2 and water. Again, another initiative with a biomimetic approach. With it, Constanz copies nature, being inspired by the formation of corals from the dissolution of CO2 in seawater. It occurs when carbonates are produced that mix with the calcium in the water until they solidify.
Another invention to reduce air or atmospheric pollution is carbon negative cement . The cement industry is responsible for 6 percent of industrial CO2 emissions (2 gigatons or GT), and by mid-century it will reach 5 GT. But this can change with inventions like this, the creation of a concrete not only does not produce CO2, but also absorbs it.
Novacem, a small company from Imperial College London, has invented this innovative material as an alternative to traditional portland cement. Their goal is to put an end to this material, created almost two hundred years ago, and whose manufacture has a brutal carbon footprint . inventions to reduce air pollution
Unlike portland cement, it is created from magnesium silicates (replacing calcium carbonate) whose carbon balance is negative . It does so without losing properties, since it finally achieves the same structural quality. In addition, it has the advantage of requiring lower temperatures than traditional cement and as it ages it acts as a sink.
For its part, at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia they have created a biological concrete that makes pigmented microorganisms grow in an accelerated way. These are the ones that cover the concrete and absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. It is an insulating material and thermal regulator thanks to the capture of solar radiation. Specifically, it regulates the thermal conductivity towards the interior of the building depending on the temperature achieved.
Its manufacture avoids a good part of the negative impacts of the construction industry, therefore, in addition to purifying the air, it improves biodiversity. Likewise, it is decorative, as it is used to decorate the façade of buildings in different colors or to use in landscaped areas as an element of sustainable and landscaping integration. inventions to reduce air pollution
To finish, we leave you a list of other inventions to achieve air decontamination :
- Wheels that absorb C02 from polluted air and release oxygen. These first appeared in 2018.
- Bandanas and scarves that filter air pollution.
- Ink made from soot from exhaust pipes.
- Sidewalks on the streets with materials that retain CO2 and nitrogen oxides.