Another Breath of Fresh Air

Jubilee Church in RomeHere’s another imaginative solution to man-made air polution.

“Using technology already available for self-cleaning windows and bathroom tiles, scientists hope to paint up cities with materials that dissolve and wash away pollutants when exposed to sun and rain.”


“This is the idea: UV rays hitting the titanium dioxide trigger a catalytic reaction that destroys the molecules of pollutants, including nitrogen oxides, which are emitted in the burning of fossil fuels and create smog when combined with volatile organic compounds.”


“The catalytic reaction also prevents bacteria and dirt from sticking to a surface, making them easily removed by a splash of water or rain.”

On a side note…

Smog is a terrible thing and certainly contributes to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, but there is mounting evidence that not all air pollution is man-made. To wit:

“Humans apparently aren’t the first species to change the climate of the planet. Bacteria living 2.3 billion years ago could have plunged the planet into deep freeze, researchers at the California Institute of Technology claim in a new report.”

Comments 7

  1. Emily T wrote:

    So long as that’s not a design for a new cathedral in Mahoney’s diocese – I’m all for it. 😉

    Posted 04 Aug 2005 at 1:39 am
  2. Funky Dung wrote:

    IMHO, it looks a heck of a lot nicer than the Taj Mahoney. It reminds me of the Sydney Opera House.

    Posted 04 Aug 2005 at 1:48 am
  3. Jerry wrote:

    gbm3, I did a little work with titanium oxide catalysts when I was in China–you can generally expect the products of the catalyzed reactions to be less harmful, just like with cars’ catalytic converters.

    What concerned me is that fixed titanium oxide, as opposed to some sort of suspension for instance, is not very efficient. The more available surface, the better (as I recall, catalytic converters have a complicated interior to maximize surface). Getting fixed in cement puts a damper on such things, but maybe it could make a small dent.

    We might as well make all the concrete surfaces do something rather than just sit there and contribute to our problems with rain runoff and so forth.

    Posted 03 Aug 2005 at 7:14 pm
  4. gbm3 wrote:

    Where will the atoms of the molecules reconstitute?

    Won’t the ions just form other compounds down the road? (Like that Jerry)

    Posted 03 Aug 2005 at 4:19 pm
  5. Jerry wrote:

    I remember reading about the titanium oxide-infused concrete technology before–it may help palliate things, though I’d like to see what the engineers’ simulation for how much it will help.

    Posted 03 Aug 2005 at 3:59 pm
  6. Jerry wrote:

    Hmm. The “Snowball Earth” scenario described in that article was interesting in how it hypothesized that if Earth were further from the Sun, life may have ended. Perhaps that was the fate of whatever ecosystem Mars had.

    Posted 04 Aug 2005 at 3:16 pm
  7. Jerry wrote:

    Yeah, I kind of like that design as well, at least for non-sacred purposes. 🙂

    Posted 04 Aug 2005 at 3:09 pm

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