In September, we wrote about the latest research from Yale University, which clearly suggests that asphalt is a huge source of hazardous emissions, and that as much as 122.5 million tons of it is used annually worldwide, the problem is serious. What's more, according to scientists, we are somewhat deceived here by the construction industry, which ensures that it is a safe solution, because in fact our roads, sidewalks and roofs constantly - and long after laying - emit "a complex mixture of organic ingredients containing dangerous impurities" and the situation worsens threefold on hot days.
As a result, we are dealing with an ignored source of emissions contributing to an increase in the amount of PM2.5 in the air, which is the most harmful to human health of all air pollutants. The answer may be "green" asphalt and one of such ideas appeared in Poland thanks to the Gdańsk University of Technology and Lotos, which, as part of the Ecological Asphalt project, undertook to develop an innovative asphalt pavement modified with a photocatalyst, the use of which is to reduce the amount of harmful substances, including nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds released into the air.
- Photocatalytic air purification systems are currently one of the most dynamically developing technologies, but they are not without flaws and imperfections. Our technology, on the other hand, is based on innovative hybrid photocatalysts, which provide a higher reduction of nitrogen oxides concentration in asphalt under the influence of solar radiation, and additionally enable the degradation of carcinogenic organic compounds into simple and harmless inorganic compounds - explains Professor Anna Zielińska-Jurek from the Department of Process Engineering and Chemical Technology , project coordinator.
The Ecological Asphalt Project is one of over 50 projects that applied for funding under the Smart Growth Operational Program and was able to take 6th place, thanks to which it received financial support. How big? In the amount of PLN 5 million, 65% of which will be covered by European funds - however, it is worth remembering that this is an initiative worth every zloty, because there is currently no road surface on the closetomovies that fulfills the functions typical of asphalt based on hybrid photocatalysts, and this has a real impact on our health. - Due to the fact that street surfaces in cities are in over 90 percent asphalt, such a solution may improve the quality of life of their inhabitants in the future - claims Cezary Godziuk, President of the Management Board of Lotos Asfalt.