Currently, people in the urban areas of Germany’s Bavarian Forest suffer from high levels of air pollution caused by automobiles, and, in particular, nitrogen oxides (NOx). To combat this issue, the European Union has made the upper limit values more stringent than ever, but many communities still are far exceeding these parameters. Areas of high traffic are of particular concern since they have been noted to be most affected by high NOx levels.
Over the course of the next two years, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME intend to study the effectiveness of photo-catalytic removal of nitrogen oxide on coated building test panels. Researchers have determined that photo-catalytically active coatings do reduce nitrogen oxides.
The team acknowledges there are many photo-catalytic coating products currently available, but, according to ISO 22197-1, there is no measurement method standardized, so no universal measurement can be applied to all problems.
IME researchers have created a measurement cell they are using on their project to determine its efficacy. They plan to test the accuracy by using weathering noise barrier samples that will be measured at arranged intervals. Researchers hope the test samples will be photo-catalytically active and will remove NOx when exposed to light.
If the IME team demonstrates the photo-catalytic removal of nitrogen oxide, the practical application of using these materials to reduce NOx levels may be extended to entire housing tracts to reduce urban particle pollution on a large scale.