1. Cool PavementUnlike Eco-Concrete, which works to reduce carbon emissions in the air, Cool Pavement is a new technology that works to reduce the overall temperature of both concrete pavement and the air itself. Tests on the technology have demonstrated its ability to reduce outside air temperature by up to 40 degrees.
The benefits of implementing this technology in city streets range from reducing smog, slowing the effects of global warming, and decreasing the amount of energy we use for air conditioning in the summer months.2. Eco-Concrete
Despite its higher production costs in comparison with regular concrete, Eco-Concrete might still be worth the investment. Eco-Concrete works to absorb smog and pollution by converting nitrogen oxide into nitrogenous compounds.
Test runs have already shown a 45% reduced rate of such gasses in appropriate weather conditions, but further development of the technology and methods on how to lower the production costs of said technology are still being worked out.
3. Energy-producing concrete
Imagine generating energy simply from taking a walk down the street. That’s exactly what Laurence Kemball-Cook had in mind when he founded Pavegen in 2009. Pavegen is essentially a floor tile that absorbs the kinetic energy of a footstep and converts it into electricity to be either stored or used.
The amount of electricity that can be produced by these tiles is relatively minimal, and would really only function to power smaller electrical items like street and traffic lights, vending machines, and Redbox stations. But if installation and maintenance issues can be worked out, this would definitely help to improve energy production within our cities and streets.
4. The Ocean Cleanup
Boyan Slat, a young entrepreneur and engineer, recognized the ever-growing problem of plastic waste material in the Earth’s oceans. He started an organization called The Ocean Cleanup, which is currently developing a new technology that uses natural ocean currents to move garbage and waste material towards collecting platforms that mechanically remove and recycle waste materials.
Although this project will require $43 million in financing each year, it is significantly less (about 33%) than similar projects that have already been proposed to aid in ocean cleanup. Slat is still seeking additional funding to completely implement the plan.
5. Air-purifying Roof Tiles
Another effort currently underway to improve air quality is an air-purifying substance that can be applied to the tiles on your roof. This technology, which relies on layering titanium oxide on the roof tiles, works by oxidizing nitrogen oxides and organic compounds into soluble nitrates and fatty acids under UV light.
A thin layer of this substance applied to individual roof tiles has been shown to reduce the presence of harmful greenhouse gases by 88%, and even more so if a thicker layer is applied. That means that one house could have the ability to remove up to 21g or nitrogen oxide a day. Tiles that might also reduce the level of carbon dioxide in the air are also currently being developed and tested.