Doha is a dusty, hazy city that is certainly seeing a major increase in smog and air pollution as the population grows, traffic increases, and more oil & gas is churned out. Smog and air pollution are problems faced by most major cities, and there is no question they have an adverse impact on the health of people living in the cities and the overall quality of life. While it would of course be better to pump less poisons into the air (will we ever break away from our gas guzzlers?!), there is one simple technology that exists that can help remove some of the harmful pollutants from the air: smog-eating tiles.
“Smog-eating tiles” are roofing tiles that are coated with titanium dioxide, a photocalyst that can oxidize harmful air pollutants emitted in the burning of fossil fuels. When exposed to natural light, the titanium dioxide breaks down nitrogen oxides in the air and turns them into harmless calcium nitrate, according to a feature on the technology by CNN Tech.Apparently calcium nitrate is even a nice fertilizer, so any that is washed off your roof by the limited rain we get here could help grow your winter flower garden.
A U.S. company, Boral Roofing, recently began offering the tiles to clients in the Los Angeles area, one of the cities in the U.S. with the biggest smog problem. The company says the tiles add an additional $600 – $1,000 to the price of a roof, but note that the roof of a 2,000 square foot house could offset the equivalent of driving 10,000 miles over one year. That seems like a reasonable price to pay for being able to breathe easier!
As far as I could find, no companies in Qatar offer such tiles. The tiles were originally developed in Japan and are being used in Europe and North America. The titanium dioxide coating process has been applied to other construction materials, such as paint and wall panels as well, so it seems as though the potential is only starting to be explored. With the number of roofs and buildings rapidly increasing in Qatar, right alongside the pollution, smog-eating tiles are definitely a technology I’d love to see in Qatar.
More cool technology I want to see in Qatar: