Chemical in concrete will help absorb fumes

06 October 2014

Shrubs, trees and fume-absorbing concrete are part of the Peace Bridge Authority’s new plans to reduce air pollution that has infuriated West Side neighbors for decades.

The binational board on Friday approved a $3 million plan to improve air quality and reduce the “carbon footprint” at the bridge. It intends to especially concentrate on cutting exhaust fumes plaguing the Buffalo plaza.

An experimental type of concrete designed to suck in diesel fumes is part of the plan submitted by Wendel Engineers.

The bridge authority will now hire firms to implement recommendations from the Wendel report over the next several years. It seeks to significantly expand the presence of trees and other vegetation in the area to absorb truck emissions and to use titanium dioxide as an additive to pavement and building coatings.

The Wendel report cites the “challenging” nature of absorbing so much pollution via the titanium dioxide additive, but it notes that research in Europe and Japan points to its potential “to remove nitrogen dioxides and volatile organic compounds from polluted urban air.”

Immediate opportunities are especially envisioned for concrete technologies on the Buffalo plaza, the report said.

“One benefit, among many, is the immediate result once constructed,” the report said, “as opposed to the landscape enhancements that may take 10 to 20 years before any true benefits are realised.”

By Robert J. McCarthy

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