Cement Scarfs Up Dangerous Roadside Pollutants
A revolutionary new Italian road surface that can eat up pollution is hitting the high road for tests in the Alpine region of Alto Adige.
The cement-based product has a special chemical composition that enables it to absorb pollutants from car fumes, factories, household heating and city life in general. Italian manufacturer Italcementi claims that the surface holds promise for major cities struggling with smog, which causes a range of ailments — some fatal.
Experts say that tests suggest the cement can reduce the amount of dangerous pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide, in surrounding areas by a third or more.
The Alto Adige Geology Department has covered a section of highway near the town of Ortisei to assess the effectiveness of the new product.
"On July 16 we started with analysis of the air without the new asphalt," said Renza Espen, of the geology department. The new ecological surface was laid on July 25 and monitoring for pollution levels began on July 27.
The cement, made with a special compound called TX Millennium, absorbs harmful pollutants and transforms them into non-toxic gases, which it then releases.
Nitrogen dioxide and sodium dioxide, for example, are turned into calcium nitrate and sodium nitrate — gases that occur naturally and that are completely harmless in small doses. Other car exhaust fumes get transformed into carbon dioxide.
Source: Aggregate Research Industries, based on a release from the Italian news agency, ANSA.
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