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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Technology Update

Air Date: Week of

Living On Earth’s Cynthia Graber reports on a new pavement technology that has streets literally eating car exhaust.


GRABER: In London, the streets may soon help clean the air. Nitrogen oxide, a component of car exhaust, contributes to acid rain, smog, and low-level ozone. But new pavement slabs being developed can take the pollutant right out of the air. The slabs are coated with a thin layer of titanium dioxide. And in the presence of sunlight, titanium dioxide breaks down nitrogen oxides into oxygen and a much less polluting form of nitric acid. The concrete neutralizes some of the acid. Some is washed away by rain. The blocks are currently being tested on sidewalks in Osaka, Japan, where they reportedly neutralize about a quarter of the nitrogen oxide spewed out by cars. The first road pavement is expected to be laid out in London this spring on Oxford Street and Cromwell Road. That's this week's technology update. I'm Cynthia Graber.



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