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A Concrete Solution To Pollution

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the cleaning-up-the-town dept.

276

PreacherTom writes "With concerns over global warming and pollution control reaching an all-time high, an Italian company has developed an interesting solution. It is called TX Active: a concrete that literally breaks down pollutants in the air. The effects are significant: 'In large cities with persistent pollution problems caused by car emissions, smoke from heating systems, and industrial activities, both the company and outside experts estimate that covering 15% of all visible urban surfaces (painting the walls, repaving the roads) with products containing TX Active could abate pollution by up to 50%.' Even more significant is that the cost is only 30% over that of normal concrete. Remarkable."

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276 comments

30% is still a fair amount for nonenvironmentalist (4, Insightful)

ookabooka (731013) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792188)

30% increase in price may not convince those that don't consider the environment that important. Maybe in some places like California or parts of Europe this will take off, but I don't see it becoming commonplace for industrialized or developing cities.

Re:30% is still a fair amount for nonenvironmental (4, Interesting)

moro_666 (414422) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792328)

I'd say it's exactly 30% more than most of people are willing to pay. Builders of big objects are big companies, and they don't care, they don't have to. If you'd make it 1% cheaper to make than just concrete, it'd be a hit. Any percent more, is a no-go.

  While they are at it, if they'd manage to increase the thermal isolation benefits of the material so that it'd pay off to buy the more expensive one, they'd stand a chance, but even that chance is not remarkable.

Re:30% is still a fair amount for nonenvironmental (3, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792634)

I'd say it's exactly 30% more than most of people are willing to pay. Builders of big objects are big companies, and they don't care, they don't have to. If you'd make it 1% cheaper to make than just concrete, it'd be a hit. Any percent more, is a no-go.

Whenever I visit Dallas, I wish I had a penny for every ton of concrete in that city.

However, I think the idea might be that the use of this material could be mandated. It probably would not be mandated in most cities, but certain cities whose climate makes them vulnerable to pollution problems might consdider it.

Re:30% is still a fair amount for nonenvironmental (3, Insightful)

C0deJunkie (309293) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792672)

While the parent is absolutely correct, the comment doesn't account for the fact that the EU and the Italian legislators push anything that goes toward limiting pollution with a great effort. That is, maybe the builders may receive a sort of compensation for using this kind of material, as the house owners who build photovoltaic panels are receiving since a couple of years ago.

Re:30% is still a fair amount for nonenvironmental (3, Informative)

C0deJunkie (309293) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792716)

From the italcementi site [italcementigroup.com] .
TX Active® is a photocatalytic principle for cement products which can reduce organic and inorganic pollutants that are present in the air. Its effectiveness has been thoroughly tested and thus certified by important independent research centers (CNR, ARPA, IspraResearchCenter). Its formulation is the result of 10 years of research, tests and applications carried out by CTG (Centro Tecnico di Gruppo, a company in the Italcementi Group) which has led to the final formulation of the active principle.

Re:30% is still a fair amount for nonenvironmental (3, Interesting)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792722)

On the other hand, it only needs to be on the exposed surface of the building. Even at a 30% premium, it is cheaper than marble, granite, glass, etc. It might give a builder an excuse to have a bare concrete exterior without being accused of making an ugly building. "It fights pollution! Isn't that more important than being pretty?"

Re:30% is still a fair amount for nonenvironmental (2, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792472)

That's silly. You can find a bigger price fluctuation between offers if you ask for offers in a tender system.

In Hungary motorways suddently cost 2-3x more after 2002 than before. Some sinister people point out that there was a change of government in 2002, but I'm sure there is no connection. ;)

Re:30% is still a fair amount for nonenvironmental (5, Informative)

herve_masson (104332) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792546)

30% increase in price may not convince those that don't consider the environment that important

30% more for the *painting*; when you're dealing with city buildings, this part is next to negligible compared to the rest. If that product is as efficient as TFA says, I don't see it as a problem at all, and personally would like to see it either made non-optional, or tax assisted. The fact it also helps to keep surfaces clean would by itself be enough to motivate buyers.

Re:30% is still a fair amount for nonenvironmental (2, Informative)

gafisher (865473) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792654)

As with hybrid cars and low-e windows, this is one area where tax credits could make the difference. Presumably the manufacturers and distributors of this stuff were generous in the last round of political campaign fundraising.

Re:30% is still a fair amount for nonenvironmental (3, Insightful)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792718)

I totally agree with you... those stupid fuckers who hate the environment so much that they purchase cars that don't run only on electricty, when the cost of those cars is only 30 to 50% more than normal cars... AGGGHH.... I just don't understand why those people hate trees and birds and lungs so much. They're probably rolling around in their filthy money laughing at the rest of us as we choke on the noxious gases from their Honda Civics and Ford Foci.

Re:30% is still a fair amount for nonenvironmental (5, Insightful)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792810)

You are quite wrong. The polution eating qualities of this material is a secondary bonus to what this material is really good for, which is to keep crud from building up on buildings. Corporations, even the greedy, mean, puppy kicking kinds like their icons to be bold and most of all clean and shinny. They also like keeping all that money they get from kicking puppies, so paying people to clean their giant icons costs lots of money even if you use illegals to do it. A 30% boost in price is a small amount to be paid for something that only needs to be cleaned every great once in a while.

The concrete will be quite common, because of a simple fact corporations don't build roads, governments do, and they are about as hyper anal about the environment as they come, reguardless of what the media says. Lot's of money coming from the federal government has alot of strings attached to it. Cities get alot of flack over polution and loose alot of funding over it. Getting people out of their cars has been a non-starter to reduce polution, but getting the numbers to drop with a special concrete or paint is simplicity in itself, when compared to light rail and other polution fighting schemes.

There is another large group in the US that is willing to pay quite a bit of money for this technology, and that is parents. Ask any parent with an asthmatic child if they would be willing to do something as simple as repaint their home inside and out to better the life of their suffering child and you'll most likely see them jumping in their car and hurrying off to the hardware store before you can even get an answer. Most of the polution in the US, as in greater than 50%, comes not from industry but people. It is the average person whose mind has to be changed, not the corporations. Most people are more than willing to make simple changes in their lives or part with a reasonable amount of money to do so, especially if it will have a real impact on the life of their child.

I wouldn't be surprised to see this paint become mandatory to use at schools and public buildings with just a few years. Even if it didn't or ever get used by corporations, there are 300,000,000 in the US that live in a lot of houses. It wouldn't take very many to start making a noticeable impact on the polution.

Re:30% is still a fair amount for nonenvironmental (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792816)

Buildings that use it - and similar technologies - could get tax reductions or other compensation for doing somthing for the public good.

If done this way, it could work.

Global Warming? (4, Interesting)

SomethingOrOther (521702) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792192)


global warming and pollution control

So WTF does this have to do with global warming? Or does the concrete break down CO2 also?
Too many buzzwords man

Re:Global Warming? (4, Insightful)

halvin (883516) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792354)

FTA:
In the presence of natural or artificial light (this applies also indoors) the photocatalyzer significantly speeds up the natural oxidation processes that cause the decomposition of pollutants, transforming them into less harmful compounds such as water, nitrates, or carbon dioxide.
So, er, no. It increases CO2.

Re:Global Warming? (4, Insightful)

archen (447353) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792864)

I think with the current scare over CO2 everyone is forgetting the fact that we're still dumping much more hazardous crap into the air. We need to reduce CO2 of course, but would you rather have much more toxic crap floating around in the atmosphere or just CO2 - and I guess that will be the big question. I'm hoping that people will realize that many of these chemicals that break down into CO2 are probably harmful to plants (contributing to acid rain) which reduces the vegetation's ability to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.

Re:Global Warming? (1)

gafisher (865473) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792580)

"Don't believe what you read is the truth." Prove it.

Re:Global Warming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16792866)

That wasn't actually his comment, that was just his sig. (Presumably -- I can't tell 'cause I'm not logged in.)
Anyway, how on Earth do you prove a command? That doesn't make any sense.

"Hold a banana in your left hand." Prove it.

WTF? OK, don't bother replying, it's a waste of time.

Re:Global Warming? (1)

ZmjbS (1003429) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792612)

The phrase you quote refers to the concerns, not the innovation. The article does not promise the concrete does anything for the former.

Re:Global Warming? (0, Troll)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792758)

Hey dumb ass... obviously the concreate and this chemical create synergies in the cholorflorcarbons thorugh osmosial principles on an evolutionary scale. And in in several studies that have been conducted of this modified concrete after exposure to intense bio and industrial pollutants it has been determined that only 1 in 4 people will contract a serious form of cancer by coming into contact with the coated walls and floors. Only 1 in 4! That's less than 30%!

Re: 30% is still a fair amount for nonenvironmenta (3, Interesting)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792198)

FTA: TX Active not only hastens the decomposition of organic and inorganic pollutants, it also prevents their build-up on surfaces, helping to preserve a building's pristine appearance over time.

So the long-term cost may be lower because you can spend less on cleaning your prestigious HQ.

Limecrete (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16792200)

And if you use limecrete rather than concrete then you can reduce CO2 emmisions by 40% as well.

Limecrete [anu.net]

Re:Limecrete (4, Informative)

onx (956508) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792576)

Actually limecrete only reduces the emissions involved in creating it by 40% by way of using less energy to fire it, and absorbing some CO2 while curing (hardening on your sidewalk). After that, the limecrete does nothing...overall producing and using limecrete still produces prollution.

Reduce at the source (4, Insightful)

nuggz (69912) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792202)

I have an idea, perhaps we can control pollution forming toxins at the source.
For example in cars we could promote less intial generation (perhaps even regulate fuel consumption),
Then before it even leaves the car we run it through some type of catalyst to convert it to less toxic pollutants, or filter out small particles.

Even better is if we had some sort of On Board Diagnostic system to monitor everything, like make sure there are no leaks between the engine and the filters.

This seems like an expensive air purifier, though one that might help with the existing problem and be very profitable to sell.

My biggest question is why have this in concrete? Other than the manufacturer sells concrete.

The summary is also wrong, it isn't 30% more, they claim $120 for a 5 story building. You must have cheap paint if that's 30% more than plain concrete.

Re:Reduce at the source (0)

Calinous (985536) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792458)

Oh well... My car - built in 1992 - has some neat things: the burnt gasses go over an oxygen sensor. The results from this sensor helps the engine computer to inject enough fuel to keep the engine in running parameters, but not more. Also, there is a catalytic converter that helps burn the incomplete burned results down to very much only H2O and CO2. New cars have even better systems: the computer control is improved, fuel injection takes place in the cylinders (not in the air distribution ducts), higher injection pressure "atomizes" fuel better (so it will burn better). Leaks between engine and exhaust? At the car's periodic check (mandatory), they found a hole few millimeters wide, when after changing the exhaust noise dampers the weld was not complete. They got 2% oxygen in exhaust gases, and that was a problem

Re:Reduce at the source (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792508)

It needs light to work hence it is generally applied to outside surfaces.

The summary is correct. The 30% more is for pavement blocks.

Re:Reduce at the source (1)

herve_masson (104332) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792666)

My biggest question is why have this in concrete? Other than the manufacturer sells concrete.

This can be mixed in concrete, but is also available as paint, hence it can fit on any surface (I did not ready something to the contrary in TFA).

We have a practical, cheap, efficient and tested solution handy. Having all those characteristics together is extremely rare in this field. That's a very bright research I'm hoping to see in application very soon; those guys deserve a huge success, bravo!

Re: 30% is still a fair amount for nonenvironmenta (4, Informative)

legoburner (702695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792204)

Unfortunately the parent (first post) is probably right. Cathalitic convertors (for instance) are still not required in China due to the slight increase in cost of a vehicle. When I was there our tour guide had never even heard of them and was amazed that something existed that could stop some of the thick black smoke coming out of the vehicles there, having no idea (aside from price) why they were not already mandatory.

Re: 30% is still a fair amount for nonenvironmenta (5, Funny)

userlame (885195) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792372)

Cathalitic convertors

...Trying to sway pollution from being Protestant?

Re: 30% is still a fair amount for nonenvironmenta (1, Interesting)

idiat (12297) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792444)

Two things here, firstly if a car is belting out think black smoke then it would kill a catalytic converter *very* quickly, secondly catalytic converters are only catalysts, that is they don't to any magic, all they do is speed up a chemical reaction which would normally take about two years into a few seconds. This makes them good for local pollution levels but they give "zero" over a fairly short term (two years). I say "zero" but it's worse than this as they use heavy metals to make this zero benefit which actually makes them bad for the environment as a whole. The *only* place they make sense is in cities where localised pollution or smog is a problem, say LA and to a lesser london.

This is compounded in the UK at least by the fact that legislation says they must work after x seconds from cold which means they manufactures make them so they warm up quickly rather than work efficiently when at temperature.

Your *much* better of buying a more efficient car in the first place and getting it tuned occasionally so it never gets to a state where it pumps out thick black smoke.

Re: 30% is still a fair amount for nonenvironmenta (2, Informative)

Christian Smith (3497) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792488)

Catalytic converters will not prevent black smoke if your engine is spent. Cats work mainly on NOx, Hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide, none of these are black smoke. Black smoke is generally soot, and would write off a catalytic converter in all likelihood.

Paving Out Pollution (2002) (4, Informative)

giafly (926567) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792208)

"Buildings, roads and sidewalks have developed an appetite for air pollution. Researchers in Japan and Hong Kong are testing construction materials coated with titanium dioxide--the stuff of white paint and toothpaste--to see how well they can fight pollution. Better known as a pigment for whiteness, titanium dioxide can clear the air because it is an efficient photocatalyst: it speeds the breakdown of water vapor by ultraviolet light. The results of this reaction are hydroxyl radicals, which attack both inorganic and organic compounds, and turn them into molecules that can be harmlessly washed away with the next rainfall." - Scientific American (Feb 2002 Issue) [sciam.com]

Solution to Homeless People Too (1)

Dareth (47614) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792786)

... because this products, "attack both inorganic and organic compounds, and turn them into molecules that can be harmlessly washed away with the next rainfall", a couple nights sleeping on the sidewalk will take care of the homeless people too.

Re: 30% is still a fair amount for nonenvironmenta (1)

ookabooka (731013) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792210)

So the long-term cost may be lower because you can spend less on cleaning your prestigious HQ.
Maybe so, but I don't think contractors will suggest the 30% increase because "it makes the air better" or "it stays whiter". I do applaud the innovation, but I think it is reserved for specialized applications, like artistic buildings (where that super white shine really matters) or dense post-industrialized cities with huge budgets and also lots of pollution.

Re: 30% is still a fair amount for nonenvironmenta (1)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792686)

Contractors might not suggest it but Joe CEO writing the checks for a new corporate HQ might request it if he knew about it.

Re: 30% is still a fair amount for nonenvironmenta (4, Informative)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792218)

Note: the 30% quote is for pavement with this catalyst. Adding the catalyst to paint would cost much less (TFA says $120 for a five-storey building).

Basicly (1)

gedeco (696368) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792224)

You reduce the polution of the air by absorbing this in Tx active and thus creating another poluated product? How you gonna get rid of that?

Re:Basicly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16792420)

Did you even read the article? Or are you just plain ignorant?

The article *clearly states* that this speeds up a natural decomposition process, where the pollutants in question get broken down to *less damaging* substances.

Re:Basicly (2, Informative)

didit (820432) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792468)

Pollution is not absorbed in the "TX active". The organic molecules (which create the pollution) are decomposed at the surface of this product using light energy. That's why it's called photocatalysis. It may contain titanium dioxide in its anatase phase. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tio2#As_a_photocataly st [wikipedia.org] for details.

Re:Basicly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16792782)

You reduce the polution of the air by absorbing this in Tx active and thus creating another poluated product? How you gonna get rid of that?

What would you consider to be a non-poluated product? Anything can be considered pollution if moved from one area to another. The point is that the biproducts are much more tolerable than the smog.

Re:Basicly (0, Flamebait)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792834)

Hey stoopid, RTFA. The article clearly states:

After 5 to 10 years, depending on the concentration of the airborne and environmental pollutants, the TX Active treated concrete will itself become polluted. Most scientists involved in developing the product agree that this is not a significant problem. The treate concrete can be cleaned through a bio-scrubbing process. Using the poor and illegal immigrants as a low-cost resource pool a corporation or municipality could hire as few as 500 "bio-cleaning engineers" to lick the pollutants out of the concrete. The solution creates a clean environment and jobs. Jobs for skill disadvanged workers. All concerns about the health risks of liking polluted exposed concrete have been covered in our economic analysis white paper which we'll be presenting at the 2007 Eco-builders Symposium in Las Vegas. By hiring poor workers and keeping them on staff for no more than 40 hours a week you do not need to pay for benefits and therefore can avoid the high economic costs incurred by helping to offset the huge expense of the cancers caused by TX Active.

Sounds like an open and shut case to me.

30% should be subsidised (3, Insightful)

Knutsi (959723) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792226)

If this turns out not to be FUD, it sounds excellend. I bet those 30% extra could easily be subsidised by city gouvernments quite simply due to reduced environmental and health problems.

If anything, it proves better technology is the cure to problems caused by technology (:

Re:30% should be subsidised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16792358)

Only the problems weren't caused by technology.

Today's industrial sites are much cleaner than production was a hundred years ago. You don't have black clouds all over the city anymore.

Likewise, cars are a lot cleaner and better for your lungs than horse coaches in the old days. The streets were so full of dried, dusty, and wet horseshit that bacteria and parasites were everywhere and people got sick.

Today you merely have a bit of unhealthy car emissions and the usual dust, but it's not as filled with excrement.

Re:30% should be subsidised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16792732)

Today's industrial sites are much cleaner than production was a hundred years ago. You don't have black clouds all over the city anymore.

Hint: there's more out there killing you than black clouds of soot. There's even more to pollution than CO2. Hell, there's more to pollution than the 30 year old car built before anyone cared about pollution spewing half-burnt hydrocarbons out the back. Sure, the government managed to smack around companies until the acid rain quit (I'd like to see the antienvironmentalists explain that as "natural"), but we still have companies whining that only poisoning one in a million people is "too expensive" and trying to do business without killing anyone is impossible.

Re:30% should be subsidised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16792512)

I bet you'd let the city "gouvernments" wipe your ass for you if they'd subsdize the toilet paper. Fucking socialist!

Re:30% should be subsidised (0, Flamebait)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792858)

Did I hear a vote for a 30% tax hike... hooray! More taxes in your little fantasy land.

Just stay the hell away from my city and don't vote in any national elections you rich bastard.

Europe out to make the cash... (3, Interesting)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792228)

The big problem with the current US approach to global warming (beyond its pure bone-headed stupidity) is that once the US is forced into taking it seriously it will be significantly behind the competition from companies elsewhere in the globe, and paticularly in Europe. British Airways are already offering carbon offsets and these Italians are looking to make cash in another way. Given that this is going to be a huge market in the future there is a real risk to US companies (witness Toyota v Ford/GM) that innovation happens elsewhere.

Re:Europe out to make the cash... (2, Interesting)

Kynde (324134) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792504)

The big problem with the current US approach to global warming (beyond its pure bone-headed stupidity) is that once the US is forced into taking it seriously it will be significantly behind the competition from companies elsewhere in the globe, and paticularly in Europe.

Although you're absolutely right, I must add to that there's also an up-side to it. Because for example the Kioto agreement was phrased to force each country to reduce it's CO2 emission levels from what they are now to what they were some time ago. I can't remember the details but the point is that it was also agreed/planned that those emission could be exchanged between countries. Now imagine a country that has been blatantly disregarding all possible CO2 emission cut downs and imagine a country that already tried to be nature-aware and efficient. Guess who's gonna be selling CO2 emissions to whom.

I just can't figure out how come the emission levels weren't atleast somehow tied to per capita... I mean, rewarding those that have been more pollutive already on the expense of those that have atleast tried to do something seems counter intuitive to me.

So all in all, albeit sadly, the US might not have it so bad after all. Although, most likely future environmental agreements will atleast one day be loosely tied to per capita and then being competetive in CO2 efficiency will be crucial.

Re:Europe out to make the cash... (2, Insightful)

ToddML (590924) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792524)

I seriously doubt it. As the prices come down and solutions become more reasonable, the U.S. will jump on board rapidly. A series of solar company executives, mostly from Europe, were recently asked who the next big "solar" power would be (right now Germany leads per capita), and most of them mentioned the United States. They all said once the U.S. commits, they will ramp up extremely quickly. So I really think you're overplaying your point.

Re:Europe out to make the cash... (2, Insightful)

Ben Hutchings (4651) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792562)

I could be wrong, but I don't think this has any effect on greenhouse gases; the pollutants that are broken down are those that cause acid precipitation and health problems. In fact, replacing concrete will involve producing a lot of CO2.

and do nothing in return (3, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792574)

Offsets are crap.

Anyone who sponsors the idea of using "carbon offsets" is doing nothing but transfering wealth from one entity to another. It has nothing to do with protecting the environment and should be laughed at when mentioned.

Re:Europe out to make the cash... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16792668)

Yeah, or we could find out that the US isn't "bone-headed stupid" and the anti-capitalist enviro-nazis were wrong and global warming had *very* little to do with anything humans were doing. Damn, I wish I could find the link to the article I read the other day that convincingly debunked the human-caused global warming myth. Did you know it was *much* warmer 800 to 1000 years ago? The global warming crowd at the U.N. had to fraudulently remove the midieval age heating period from their data to make their global-warming charts look like the "hocky-stick". There is evidence that the Chinese explored the boundaries of the Arctic Ocean back then because there was no ice sheet there then. Did you know there was a thriving Viking colony in Greenland because there was no ice there? Did you know Mars is going through global warming also? What's causing that, CO2 emmissions from our robot probes?

Europe will probalby be living in the stone age in 100 years thanks to their ever growing Muslim population and their attempts at Socialist utopia. There's a reason France has a double-digit unemployment rate and it's not because people are overworked with 35-hour work weeks.

Re: Reduce at the source (4, Insightful)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792242)

My biggest question is why have this in concrete? Other than the manufacturer sells concrete.

Controlling pollution at the source is nice, but may not be enough. Emission laws for cars have been hugely successful, but there are still plenty of smog sources out there, not all of which can be cleaned up economically.
We used to have huge forests that act as pollution sinks. If we can use our urban jungle to do the same, why not?

Re: Reduce at the source (2, Informative)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792340)

>> Emission laws for cars have been hugely successful

NO they haven't. They've been a token gesture. There's still way too much air pollution from vehicles. We need to do more.

Re: Reduce at the source (2)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792596)

For petrol-powered cars, I'd call a 99% decrease in several rather toxic substances rather more than a token gesture. The chief remaining problem is CO2. For diesels, efforts are underway at the moment, with high sulfur content in US diesel being a large stumbling block.

Re: Reduce at the source (3, Insightful)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792620)

Any suggestions? "Solutions" like "stop driving" or "use mass transit" are not acceptable to the public in most places. You can't even say "use centralized power generation and electric cars" because that has several downsides as well: limited range, vast increase in the use of heavy-metal batteries (unless those little ultracapacitor things come online any time soon), centralized generation is a single point of failure, and other side effects.

Remember, none of the pollution "problem" is technical; we have the technology that would fix all the problems. The difficulty is in the politics, not the technology.

Re:Reduce at the source (2, Funny)

gnool (1005253) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792266)

I have an idea, perhaps we can control pollution forming toxins at the source.
You mean create clean cars and clean factories that don't pollute the atmosphere? What are you some kind of communist?!

New invention (2, Funny)

Richard W.M. Jones (591125) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792286)

Actually, I invented a much better air purification system a while back.

It consists of a structure which waves in the air on large beams rising from the ground, on which are placed what are known as Local Environmental Air Filters ("LEAF"s).

The best thing is it uses an innovative self-assembly technique which just requires placing a single capsule in the ground, so installation is pretty simple.

After use, it can be disassembled using hand tools and the parts reused for many other uses, so it's ideal for use in both developed and developing countries.

Rich.

Re:New invention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16792434)

Is that you, flying spaghetti monster?

Re:Reduce at the source (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16792288)

Just testing replying.

Re:Reduce at the source (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16792412)

Test two.

Re:30% is still a fair amount for nonenvironmental (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16792300)

If it's just surface material, this will increase the construction cost of a house by maybe 2%. Material is just one factor in production, and I bet work is quite significant. You don't build the whole house out of the super-concrete, just its "skin".

Solution? (1)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792302)

a concrete that literally breaks down pollutants in the air
Maybe the concrete can break down molecules, but sulfur, lead and other heavy metals will still be there in the environment ready to enter our organisms!

Re:Solution? (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792662)

They are a bit trickier to deal with but they dont cause global warming so its relatively ok for the near future.

Re:Solution? (1)

TakeATurn (998813) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792808)

Well toxic stuff broken into smaller particules has been used before to fly below the radar of control, as with asbestos in france iirc (or it was the minimum accountable particule size that has been chosen high). The precision of the measure naturally filters out smallest particules. The (very general) principle is, a 1g particule is accounted for as a bad particule, but 100 000 particules of 0.01 milligram each are not accounted at all (in the case of asbestos, it is the length).
Those smallest particules are yet considered the most harmful (they can get deeper in the human system), and still get out of accounting... Scary way of proceeding imho

Re: 30% is still a fair amount for nonenvironmenta (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792310)

Hell littering is still not really a crime in china. The government there has NO interest in environment, even at their own detrement.

Re: 30% is still a fair amount for nonenvironmenta (2, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792368)

china. The government there has NO interest in environment,

However they are spending more than any other govenment on earth installing wind turbines to generate electricity. They are closing down a lot of those death trap coal mines they have. I think facts may be more complicated than your opinions.

Too expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16792316)

Sadly until it's 30% less than regular concrete instead of 30% more it's unlikely to be adopted. Even 3% more would be more than some would pay. Given the public benefit they should be offered tax benefits. The other option would be to offer them the option to offset some polution credits for using the concrete. X number of square feet buys you another credit. You don't want it to be a net wash so you'd want to make it a 10 to 1 deal bujt it could still be real attractive to a lot of companies. Also the PR could be worthwhile. It was mentioned that it could just be used as a coating so the costs might not be that high.

Re:30% is still a fair amount for nonenvironmental (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792336)

A 30% increase in the price of the concrete on the surface will only be a few percent of the price for a lot of structures. Even pavement is thick.

Great! (1, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792350)

Great - an excuse to pave over more unspoiled areas.

No Troll (3, Interesting)

zeromorph (1009305) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792706)

Parent is not a troll!

This is actually a possible scenario. Not for the Amazonian rainforest but for the so called "green lungs" of the cities. These concrete could actually influence decision about smaller tree covered areas inside or next to urban areas and whether they are needed for the micro-climate of the area or not.

As posted by someone above:

Don't try to resolve the result of the problem... try to resolve the problem itself !

literally wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16792362)

concrete that literally breaks down pollutants in the air.

As opposed to what, figuratively breaking it down? Why is that word there? "Literally" means something specific, it is not a generic emphasis word.

concrete=as pollution efficient as a burning rig (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16792382)

Given the abysmal thermal inefficiency of concrete, leading to tremendous wastes of fossil fuel for heating/aircon, it is nothing short of irresponsible to portray it as a pollution saviour.

  If you do not have the facts in your hands to be able to read critically some corporate PR, at least have the decency to not parrot it on /.

Re:concrete=as pollution efficient as a burning ri (2, Informative)

Caldeso (912961) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792768)

It's actually fairly common practice in LEED-certified [wikipedia.org] buildings to use concrete walls as thermal stores, where the sheer mass of the concrete makes it effective at storing heat to be radiated back out later.

Cheaper to just pay for more efficient cars? (1)

bigtrike (904535) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792392)

The only way anyone will use this stuff is if it's required by law or made a requirement for city contracts. It's going to cost an insane amount of money. It would probably be cheaper to just give people tax incentives to buy more efficient (and therefore typically less polluting) cars.

Whole New Meaning to "Sick Building Syndrome"! (1)

BriSTO(V)L (668928) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792454)

Yeah - like I'd really want to live / work in a building that was soaking up crud out of the atmosphere... Great idea, guys, thanks...

Re:Whole New Meaning to "Sick Building Syndrome"! (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792496)

Yeah - like I'd really want to live / work in a building that was soaking up crud out of the atmosphere... Great idea, guys, thanks...

RTFA. If it works as advertised, it breaks down pollutants. It doesn't absorb them.

sigh... Make em pay (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792498)

Frankly I'm tired and bored of listening to the constant doom mongering.

Look. We can take a bitty view at all this, then run about like headless chickens screaming about this issue this week, then that issue next week... Or... we can take an overview and recognise that some pollution is inevitable so, allow people to pollute as much as they like, as long as they pay for it. Make them buy a license to pollute.

The idea is called cap and trade. You say, these and these are sources of this and that pollution, you go ahead and pollute but the total number of licenses to pollute are N tonnes and you and your competitors have to buy (or else) enough licenses to cover the number of tonnes you produce. As the total amount of pollution allowed to be produced is reduced, the price of the licenses on the free market increases, the people who are least efficient, have to buy more and end up more expensive than their more efficient competitors. Then you leave it up to the companies to find their own way of reducing their pollution costs. Whether they use this technology, or that technology is irrelevant as long as they pay.

 

Not abotu climate change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16792514)

This is about pollutants which are bad for your health. It's not about climate change. It does not break down CO2 to graphite and oxygen (or diamond and oxygen :) ). Some of the pollutants that get broken down might be greenhouse gases as well, but don't play a major role.

Concrete not green to begin with (1)

stuckinarut (891702) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792676)

The amount of energy required to produce concrete makes it a very unenvironmentally friendly material in the first place.

Embodied energy is the energy consumed by all of the processes associated with the production of a building, from the acquisition of natural resources to product delivery." and as you can see from the graph, Concrete has far and away the highest of any material. It also has far and away the lowest value when it comes to recycling at the end of its life. [treehugger.com]

The fact that this absorbs pollution ofsets this but does it actually become a green material for construction?

Literally? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16792714)

"a concrete that literally breaks down pollutants in the air" - I think a concrete that figuratively did it would be more interesting.

Auto Body Paint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16792726)

Mix it into the car paint. They are out in the sun, at the location of the pollution, and it ould be politically feasible to have some sort of mandate or offset - if you fail to meet some milage standard, you get a 1 mpg credit or some such. I don't generally like mandates, but people are more likely to swallow something like this when there is an obvious direct link - car puts out particulates, car paint helps eat particulates. It's fair and balanced. Even if it's not.

30% yeah no big deal (1)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792734)

Is anyone up for a 30% increase in their housing costs? Maybe a 30% increase in their taxes? 30% is a lot of money when you're talking about construction. I'm not saying it shouldn't be done... only tossing out 30% like it's not big thing is absolutely idiotic.

Titanium paint in Nippon ? (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792738)

Isn't this the same old trick as the titanium-based paint they developed over there to break down the pollution into harmless dust or something?

meta-dupe?

Asbestos v2.0 (1)

Bloodwine (223097) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792806)

This seems like something that down the line people will go, "OMG?! What were we thinking?!", like they do with asbestos and lead paint.

Hopefully I am wrong, but man has a terrible track record at creating things that kill us in the long term.

Pollution (1)

dlhm (739554) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792842)

I bet if Local government droped the tax on Enviro-Friendy concrete it would be used more.. I bet there is about a 15% embeded tax + the normal 7%-16% State, Local, Municpal tax on these construction products. The Incentive for the government is Cleaner air/better city rating, plus a few more I'm sure..

Catalyzes CO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16792846)

It breaks down carbon monoxide? I just found my furnace room paint!

I see this as being a BIG hit in urban homes. Once a few families try out some modified paint, if it works as well as advertised it's going to spread like wildfire. Cheap, effective, no upkeep freshened air. I kind of feel bad for the scented air and air filter markets, but they will still have their niche.
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