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Concrete neutralizing air pollution in Częstochowa, Source: Łukasz Kolewiński / czestochowa.pl

Częstochowa installs tram tracks that purify air

Częstochowa installs tram tracks that purify air

The reconstruction of the tram line has received European funding

Częstochowa is betting on innovative technology for the renovation of its tramway track running through the city centre. The Polish city informed on Tuesday that a tram line, currently undergoing reconstruction, will use a special photocatalytic surface with anti-smog qualities. The innovative solution that purifies air is part of a municipal investment worth PLN 114.5 million (25.7 million euro), co-financed by the European Union.

Częstochowa’s “green lungs” are made of cement

The tramway track between “Najświętszej Maryi Panny” alley and the PKS station in Częstochowa is made of special catalytic concrete slabs, which will act as an air filter. Andrzej Bywalec, a representative of Contrail, the company that introduced the innovative product on the market, explained how the technology works:

The main element of the biocement used is titanium oxide. Nitrogen oxides are captured by it and converted, under the influence of light, into nitrate ions.

Then, under the influence of reaction with calcium hydroxides, which are on the surface of the prefabricated slab, it is converted into salts that are safe, and then, when it rains all this flows down to the sewage system”.

The TX Active technology is therefore based on the use of a photocatalyst which accelerates the natural decomposition of pollutants under the influence of sunlight. Materials or products made in this technology are capable of reducing the concentration of harmful organic and inorganic substances in the air, and at the same time are durable, informs the city website. 

The press release further pointed out, quoting previous research, that in sunny weather, photocatalysis neutralizes approximately 90% of nitrogen oxides, as well as aldehydes, benzene and other organic compounds. Even on cloudy days, with little sunlight, 70% of air pollutants are removed or neutralized. 

The test results showed a reduction in the concentration of nitric oxide in the pavement made with the TX Active technology from 20% to 60% (47% on average) in comparison to the section of the street with asphalt covering.

The green solution was not part of the initial reconstruction plan and will not cover the entire track. Instead, it will be used in sections where it will be most effective. It is expected that tram traffic on the new line should resume at the beginning of the new school year in September.

According to the mayor of Częstochowa Krzysztof Matyjaszczyk, speaking for the city website, the technology had been used in the past in sidewalks and elevations, but the case of the tram tracks is a first for his city. Furthermore, on top of its anti-smog effect, the tracks will further contribute to the urban environment as they will be used as an additional lane for emergency vehicles running through the heart of the city.

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