Welcome to Earth, a planet that is facing the hazardous problem of pollution. Climate change has been triggered and scientists along with environmentalists are actively trying to put a stop to it before catastrophic events hit us. The race to going green has begun and is aimed at reducing the pollution that is being caused. This is what has led engineers to look for ways of combating it. Some are doing it by creating drones that can monitor air pollution while others are creating buildings that eat away smog. This is Palazzo Italia, a structure that been covered in a unique smog eating concrete that is capable of cleansing the air around the structure.
The architecturally beautiful building was also a part of the 2015 Milan expo that was held in Italy. It features almost 9,000 sq. meters of façade made of concrete. A total of 900 panels were installed and the building has materialized thanks to Italcimenti – leaders in the bio-dynamic cement industry.
The concrete has been created using the conventional cement along with a peculiar ingredient; titanium dioxide. This unique mix allows air to pass through while inhibiting the nitrogen-oxide particles’ movement and trapping them. The nitrogen-oxide particles are a main component of the smog. Titanium dioxide in the mix works as a catalyst in the chemical reaction that is activated via UV light. This process filters the air and the collected smog residue is washed off following a light rainfall. The residue is basically inert salts and doesn’t cause any harmful effect to the surrounding environment.
According to Italcementi, the proprietary mix was created following a 12,500 hours of research that was carried out specifically for this structure. The company has plans of taking this technology to the rest of Milan and rest of the world after they have the proof of concept on Palazzo Italia. To put things into perspective; if only 15% of the buildings in Milan were to be covered using this concrete, the air pollution would be reduced by half.
As for aggregate, recycled marble and granite are used thus rendering the concrete even more eco-friendly. If you all geeks are wondering that the smog eating concrete is the only ace up in the structure’s sleeve, think again. It has been designed to consume 40% less power when compared with an equivalent building and also features a glass roof made of solar panels thus enabling it to produce 140 kilowatts.
A total of 2,000 metric tons of the bio dynamic concrete was used for constructing the building and according to Italcementi, the structure is far stronger when compared to an equivalent made of regular concrete. This increased strength enabled engineers and architects to come up with amazingly superb linear shapes that can be spotted on building’s façade with ease.
Considering the urge to go green and save earth, it is no surprise that sustainable engineering is becoming more and more utilized and looked upon at. While talking about the future of construction and incorporation of smog eating concrete, you might also want to look at this building that is slated to be 3D printed in Singapore.