Self cleaning concrete is one of the five ideas competing for the European Inventor Award.
Fifteen inventors, selected out of 300 original candidates will gather in Berlin today to compete for the European Inventor Award, the annual prize bestowed on those ground-breaking projects that contribute towards social, technological and economic progress.
Some of these projects have already become popular products and applications: from the QR (Quick Response) code, now used ubiquitously in posters and magazines, to the cochlear implant which has helped more than 200 000 people diagnosed with profound deafness or severe hearing loss to hear again and recognise human voice. Others are available, but have not reached mass production yet.
This year’s finalists include top scientists, engineers and inventors in the fields of biotechnology, construction, environment, mechanics, medical technology, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications and traffic safety, divided into four categories: industry, small and medium-sized enterprises, research, lifetime achievement.
Italian chemist Luigi Cassar, Together with his team at the cement manufacturer Italcementi, developed an innovative new cement mixture that is self-cleaning and purifies air. The cement uses sunlight to break down pollutants into less harmful substances. This way, it not only lastingly prevents the effects of pollution; it also combats pollution itself.
Cassar and his team achieved this breakthrough by enriching cement with titanium oxide minerals, which oxidise with sunlight to break down pollutants before they can bind with the surface and cause discolouration. The photocatalyst compound can be incorporated into mortar, paint, plaster, and even roads.