Under the headline “Innovative building materials clean the air – nitrogen oxide degradation by photocatalysis" (Innovative Baustoffe reinigen die Luft – Stickoxidabbau durch Photokatalyse) one of the "Chemical Technology" group's research projects has been chosen as highlight project of the industrial collective research (iGF) and is the topic of the new AiF project flyer.
Despite of the use of filter systems and exhaust catalysts, the air in many cities and urban areas is still contaminated with many pollutants. Especially nitrogen oxides (NOx) threaten the air quality and our health, so new approaches to reduce them are urgently necessary. The main aim of the project "Improved photocatalysts for selective NOx degradation" was to develop photocatalyst materials with an increased selectivity towards the target product nitrate. These improved photocatalysts can be used in building materials such as concrete elements, façades, paving stones, and roof tiles. There they utilize light to clean the air, totally maintenance-free and independently from the emission source. We developed a grafting method that can be adapted to commercial TiO2 photocatalysts where small amounts of iron improve the efficiency of this photocatalyst by up to 500 % related to the total quantity of degraded nitrogen oxides.