From September 8th to 23th, the European consortium PhotoPAQ coordinated by the Institute for research on Catalysis and the environment of Lyon (IRCELYON, CNRS/Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1), together with the Transport Ministry at Brussels (Brussels Mobility) will test within the Leopold II tunnel the air cleaning properties of photocalatytic cement. This field campaign is part of the larger European initiative PhotoPAQ aiming at cleaning urban air in the framework of the Life+ program.
To clean urban air, photocatalytic self-cleaning and “de-polluting” materials have been suggested as a new remediation technology. Under the combined action of UV light and a catalyst, these commercial products, based on the photo-catalytic properties of a thin layer of TiO2 deposited at the surface of the material (such as glass, pavement, …) or embedded in paints or concrete, act as sinks for nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The associated technologies have now been launched on the European market with the aim to have a positive impact on urban air quality. However the real impact on air quality has still to be demonstrated and this is the main objective of the PhotoPAQ project.
Starting on September 8th, the scientists involved in the PhotoPAQ consortium will study in a 100 m long section of the Leopold II tunnel (2.3 km), the air cleaning properties of photocatalytic cement. For this purpose a large set of instruments will be deployed in the tunnel in a close-by control room. The outcome of this campaign will lead to a series of publications in 2012.
More generally, until the end of 2013, PhotoPAQ aims at developing the testing methodology for photocatalytic removal/production of NOx, a large number of VOCs and ultrafine particles; testing the photocatalytic activities of commercially available TiO2 based products; designing better environmental indicators and methods to assess the impact of this new technology in European cities and providing recommendation to local and European authorities on the practical application for air treatment. This will be achieved by combining tests in the world’s largest and high-performance simulation chambers and in the field (different European cities) in combination with numerical modelling.
Therefore this project funded by the Life+ program will provide decision making tools for local authorities.