Although it’s been around for a number of years, titanium dioxide still doesn’t seem to have caught on as a potential breakthrough. Yet.
Jubilee Church of 2000 by Richard Meier Architects (image credit: Archdaily.com)
Initially developed to help architect Richard Meier keep the white sheen of his Jubilee Church in Rome its brightest and whitest, use of titanium dioxide as an atmosphere pollutant eater is (very) slowly gaining traction, but still not nearly enough.
Titanium dioxide is a ‘photocatalytic’ material, meaning it uses sunlight to do it’s thing. The titanium dioxide is mixed in as part of the aggregate that can comprise concrete admixtures (all the stuff that goes into making concrete). The ensuing chemical reaction embeds the titanium dioxide into the concrete, making it look nice and bright and white. But more importantly, when exposed to sunlight, the titanium dioxide literally sucks in atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and converts it into an inert dirt that can be washed/cleaned away.
In 2013, the City of Chicago paved an entire stretch of bike and parking lanes along Blue Island avenue and Cermak road, becoming the first City in America to utilize this material in such a potentially groundbreaking way. While it’s still a cost-prohibitive way of helping scrub the atmosphere of CO2, bold new technologies don’t stay expensive forever and costs do eventually go down. Here’s hoping it happens before it’s too late…
And here’s more technical information to read about this material: