Traditional construction materials have extremely high CO2 emissions. Up to half of the total amount of carbon released by a building comes from the materials it’s made from, meaning our current urban development methods are very unsustainable.
By 2050, we will need to house 2 billion more people. Building the way we do now will emit so much CO2 that it will blow our carbon budget in materials alone. This calls for new building materials to enter the market immediately. Thankfully, Elegant Embellishments has come up with solutions for the unpleasant toxins in the air.
PROSOLVE370e: The Smog-Eating Material
Elegant Embellishments’ prosolve370e is a self-cleaning, decorative building module that can effectively reduce air pollution when installed near traffic ways or on building facades. As a modification, prosolve370e can be installed onto existing buildings to help them clean their immediate environments. Recent studies show it is reducing the pollution of 1,000 cars per day.
The tiles are made of a lightweight ABS plastic shell, joined with standard steel fixings, and coated with titanium dioxide (TiO2) which fights pollution when activated by naturally occurring UV light. This isn’t the everyday TiO2 used as a coloring agent, but a nano photocatalytic version known for its self-cleaning and germicidal qualities. When it’s placed near pollution sources, the coated tiles immediately break down and neutralize NOx (nitrogen oxides) and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) when they come in contact.
This neutralization process creates an end product of calcium nitrate (CaN₂O₆), which can be used as a fertilizer. When the modules are naturally cleaned through rainfall, the calcium nitrate is washed away to eventually end up in the ground to provide nutrients for soil.
Inspired by fractals in nature, the modules are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. While the pattern resembles organic growth, the system is still only composed of two repeating sequences. The seemingly non-repetitive grid is derived from a five-fold symmetrical pattern that maximizes its surface area to diffuse light, air turbulence and pollution.
Prosolve370e modules have been installed across the globe, with projects in Mexico, Australia, and Unite Arab Emirates and proposals for installations have ranged from carports to mixed-use/housing to hospital facades.
This is a very exciting technology and leaves for questions about where else can it be installed. Can cars be coated in the same material so that they clean pollution wherever they go? Or maybe a module that fits over exhaust pipes can be made so it eliminates most of a car’s emissions. This way, most cars won’t have to be removed from the road and people who can’t afford electric vehicles don’t have to worry about polluting the environment.
MADE OF AIR
A shift is happening away from how we mine resources: specifically carbon. This new technology uses the problem of airborne CO₂ as a resource, turning captured carbon into usable, biodegradable products. It creates a sustainable circle of carbon use dubbed the “carbon loop”.
Elegant Embellishments, the same company that invented Prosolve370e, developed Made of Air, a revolutionary biochar-based material designed to combat climate change. Made of 90% atmospheric carbon, it is a sustainable alternative for use in construction, interiors, furniture and more.
The base material removes more CO₂ from the atmosphere than it emits in production. The conversion of CO₂ to C is an exothermic process, meaning it releases energy in the form of heat. This heat can then be stored or converted into electrical energy. This is a first in construction materials: removing more CO₂ than any building product currently available.
The material uses biomass, an organic waste from plants or animals, which absorbs and stores carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The biomass is then baked and stabilized through pyrolysis to form a thermoplastic material. A biodegradable binder is then mixed with the baked substance to create a carbon-negative material that can be molded into various forms. When it reaches the end of its use, Made of Air can be shredded and buried in the soil to replenish the carbon supplies we’ve mined from the earth or can be reformed into new products.