Field evaluation of ability of photocatalytic concrete pavements to remove nitrogen oxides

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Numerous laboratory studies have demonstrated the ability of nano and ultrafine titanium dioxide (TiO2) photocatalytic pavements to trap and degrade nitrogen oxides in the air when irradiated with ultraviolet light. However, to understand better how photocatalytic pavements will perform under real-world conditions, field studies are necessary. Quantification of the reduction of nitrogen oxides (NOx) in field studies is difficult and challenging because of the many environmental and operating variables. The objective of this paper is to identify evidence of photocatalytic NOx reduction and to determine the environmental and operating factors that affect efficiencies under real-world conditions. A quarter-mile concrete roadway was sprayed with a photocatalytic coating in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This section was the first field installation of TiO2 photocatalytic pavement in the United States. NOx concentrations were monitored for both the coated and uncoated sections simultaneously for 3 weeks during the spring season to measure photocatalytic degradation directly. Further, nitrates were collected from the coated and uncoated areas for evidence of photocatalytic NOx reduction. Results from both approaches show evidence of photocatalytic NO x reduction. Environmental factors with significant impact on photocatalytic efficiency include relative humidity, solar intensity, and wind speed and direction.

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Transportation Research Record

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