LSU Professor Evaluates Photocatalytic Pavements

Pureti was applied to asphalt and concrete paving near the LSU campus; Professor Hassan is monitoring air quality and groundwater runoff from the site.

Pureti Inc., a U.S.-based materials technology company, and Marwa Hassan, a Louisiana State University (LSU) assistant professor of Construction Management & Industrial Engineering, are evaluating air-purifying asphalt and concrete photocatalytic pavements on the university campus.

Photocatalysis is a proven technology that uses light and a common Earth mineral (titanium dioxide) to safely accelerate the natural decomposition of organic matter and deliver a broad range of environmental and health enhancing benefits.

The field study will record and measure the ability of the pavements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.

“We will have the first photocatalytic pavement in the U.S. capable of purifying outdoor air from nitrogen oxide, volatile organic compounds, and sulfur dioxide resulting from traffic emissions,” said Hassan, Ph.D. “I consider this study the first work needed to bring photocatalytic pavement technology to the field. “During this period, we will monitor the environmental and structural performance of the pavement with the vision that all our roads can and will be capable of self-cleaning and air purification.”

Pureti was applied to asphalt and concrete paving near LSU’s campus. Air quality and groundwater runoff will be measured and recorded during the year-long study; funded through the Gulf Coast Research Center for Evacuation and Transportation Resiliency. Nano-particle release potential from the technology also will be quantified with the help of TSI Incorporated, a global performance measurement company.

Prior to the field installation, Hassan evaluated photocatalytic technology in the laboratory through funding from the Louisiana Transportation Research Center and the National Science Foundation. PURETI was applied to asphalt and concrete samples and found to reduce nitrogen oxide, a key ingredient in smog and acid rain, by 70 percent or more and survived simulated traffic to keep reducing pollution. The technology works on both asphalt and concrete, a distinguishing factor because roughly 95 percent of U.S. roads are paved with asphalt.

“Though this will not single-handedly alter climate change, it is an efficient, cost-effective way to mitigate the amount of greenhouse gases that enter our environment," said Glen Finkel, Pureti president and co-founder.

Hassan was scheduled to present her findings at the Transportation Research Board’s Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.

Pureti is a privately held, materials technology company headquartered in New York City and is a Dual Use NASA Technology partner.