Infrastructure That Cleans the Air

Barcelona is going to build a road bridge which may be the cleanest bridge yet. Of course it’ll have pedestrian walks and bike paths, however, what makes the bridge really noteworthy is that it will clean the air.

Concrete is notoriously energy-intensive to create so any carbon offset is beneficial. The Barcelona bridge will make use of photocatalytic concrete.

But the real prize of this thing is its basic building material, photocatalytic concrete. The principal of photocatylitics is that ultraviolet light naturally breaks down dirt, both natural and synthetic. It’s that old adage about sunlight being the best disinfectant. Photocatalytic concrete is used with titanium dioxide, which helps accelerate the natural UV-breakdown process, turning the pollution into carbon dioxide, and oxygen and substances that actually belong in the atmosphere.

The actual process has to do with semiconductors and electrons and other things that you may or may not care to read about. (At any rate, the Concrete Society of the United Kingdom does a better job of explaining it.)

An air-cleaning bridge makes for a neat news story and a sci-fi-ish novelty that environmentalists can blog about. But the important point is that Barcelona has taken a piece of infrastructure that exists solely to accommodate car culture, and re-invented it to partially offset the effects of car pollution.

Read more.

Negative Carbon Concrete

The most popular construction material on the planet is concrete and it turns out that the way we use it is not environmentally friendly. What if we changed that?

A company has created a great concrete variation that actually beneficial for the environment as it removes excess carbon!

While it functions much like commonly used Portland cement, boasting the same level of performance and the same average cost, Novacem’s concrete mixture uses magnesium silicate instead of calcium carbonates. The slinging of chemistry jargon might make this seem complicated, but the concept is simple: the creation of magnesium carbonates from magnesium silicates absorbs carbon dioxide. In other words, the production process is carbon negative. Furthermore, the production process of Novacem’s concrete is low-energy, allowing it to be sustained on biomass fuels.

Read more at Architizer.

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