Mexico, Sep. 12 (Notimex).- Specialists from the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon (UANL, for its acronym in Spanish) developed a semiconductor that captures and transforms NOx pollutants, gases that are emitted mainly by cars, into nutrients for plants.
Incorporated into construction materials such as cement or paint, the semiconductor has the ability to eliminate polluting gases by photocatalytic action induced by solar radiation; it is activated with visible and solar radiation, captures the gases and converts them to water-soluble salts, which benefit plants.
This technology is in charge of researchers from the Faculty of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering of that educational institution, it was informed in a statement.
Azael Martínez de la Cruz said that this development addresses the problem of pollution, in particular the NOx type, gases that are emitted mainly by cars; contaminants for the human aspect, which generate pulmonary and respiratory problems.
For every thousand square meters of surface covered with the construction material developed by UANL experts, a volume of air equivalent to that breathed annually by 13 thousand people is purified.
For the development of this project, the specialists worked with a photocatalytic reactor, unique in Latin America, which simulates environmental conditions.
In the laboratory of the UANL, the scientists designed new routes of synthesis of bismuth oxyhalide (BiOl), with the purpose of enhancing its photocatalytic properties and propose experimental conditions for the achievement of its synthesis in a sustainable way, using low temperatures and short times of reaction.
"The cars have a built-in converter, which makes emissions less polluting, however, they end up expelling a pollutant. This technology attempts to attack this contaminant as a secondary technology, "said the university researcher.
"Different cities have adapted this technology still in the form of a prototype. Here it would be used to cover houses with this type of material, so that it is an additive effect and we can observe a depletion of a different pollutant, "said Martínez de la Cruz.
According to the document, nitrogen oxides (NOx) are a yellow substance that is formed in the combustion processes of motor vehicles and power plants; they are toxic and irritating.