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A Review of Photocatalytic Materials for Urban NOx Remediation

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NOx is a pervasive pollutant in urban environments. This review assesses the current state of the art of photocatalytic oxidation materials, designed for the abatement of nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the urban environment, and typically, but not exclusively based on titanium dioxide (TiO2). Field trials with existing commercial materials, such as paints, asphalt and concrete, in a range of environments including street canyons, car parks, tunnels, highways and open streets, are considered in-depth. Lab studies containing the most recent developments in the photocatalytic materials are also summarised, as well as studies investigating the impact of physical parameters on their efficiency. It is concluded that this technology may be useful as a part of the measures used to lower urban air pollution levels, yielding ∼2% NOx removal in the immediate area around the surface, for optimised TiO2, in some cases, but is not capable of the reported high NOx removal efficiencies >20% in outdoor urban environments, and can in some cases lower air quality by releasing hazardous by-products. However, research into new material is ongoing. The reason for the mixed results in the studies reviewed, and massive range of removal efficiencies reported (from negligible and up to >80%) is mainly the large range of testing practices used. Before deployment in individual environments site-specific testing should be performed, and new standards for lab and field testing should be developed. The longevity of the materials and their potential for producing hazardous by-products should also be considered.
Original languageEnglish
Article number675
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2021

    Research areas

  • photocatalysis, NOx, titanium dioxide, NO abatement, concrete, air purification

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