Pollution is one of the biggest concerns of the world right now, forcing engineers to come up with creative solutions to fight it. The Palazzo Italia is covered in a special smog eating concrete that will clean the air around it. Architecturally beautiful, the building was also featured in the 2015 Milan expo in Italy. Covered in nearly 9000 square meters of concrete facade, made up of 900 panels, the building was realized with the help of Italcimenti, leaders in the bio-dynamic cement industry.
The concrete is made up of traditional cement mixed with titanium dioxide. This unique mixture allows air to pass through while simultaneously capturing nitrogen-oxide particles, a main component of smog. Titanium dioxide functions as a catalyst to the chemical reaction which is activated by UV light. Not only does it filter the air, but the collected smog residue washes off with a light rainfall. Don’t worry about the residue, it’s made up of inert salts that have no effect on the surrounding environment.
Italcementi says they developed the proprietary mixture through 12,500 hours of research just for this structure. They are hoping to take the technology to the rest of Milan, and even the rest of the world after their proof of concept on the Palazzo Italia. If just 15 percent of the buildings in Milan were covered in the concrete, it would reduce air pollution by half!
[Image Source: In Habitat]
Recycled marble and granite are also used as aggregate in the concrete, making it that much more eco-friendly. A smog eating interior isn’t the only green tech that this building is boasting. It also was designed to consume 40 percent less energy than an equivalent building and has a glass roof made of solar panels, capable of producing 140 kilowatts!
[Image Source: Daily Mail]
In total, it took 2,000 metric tons of the bio dynamic concrete to construct the building and it’s creators at Italcementi claim that it is stronger than the equivalent of regular concrete. This added strength allowed the architects and engineers to create the stunning linear shapes seen on the building’s facade with ease.
With sustainable engineering making its way to the forefront of the industry, technologies like smog-eating concrete are what will shape the stage of future construction. The world should probably try to reduce their production of smog as well, but in the meantime, why not construct buildings that can help clean the air?