Smog-Reducing Granules Harness the Power of the Sun to Improve Air Quality

The 3M Industrial Mineral Products Division recently launched 3M Smog-Reducing Granules to help remove smog pollution (nitrogen oxides or NOx) using roofing shingles. Integrated throughout a shingle’s surface, 3M’s roofing granules are designed with a specialized photocatalytic coating applied to the base mineral. The specialized coating on the granule is activated by the sun’s UV rays, while blending inconspicuously into various shingle color combinations. As sunlight hits the shingles containing the smog-reducing granules, radicals are generated and transform nitrogen oxide gases into water-soluble ions, improving air quality. According to the company, this smart solution for pollution mitigation can help communities contribute toward their NOx emission reduction efforts.

“3M is leading the way with roofing technology solutions for improving environmental impacts on human health and welfare,” said Frank Klink, senior laboratory manager, 3M. “The roofing granules are a first for residential asphalt shingles. The new 3M granules will help roofing manufacturers develop high quality, aesthetically-pleasing shingles that can turn any roof into an active smog reducing catalyst, essentially becoming smog’s worst enemy.”

To prove out the technology, 3M submitted granule and shingle samples to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for evaluation. Performance testing occurred using challenge gasses in a reaction chamber. Downstream of the system, NOx concentrations were recorded in real time, prior to, during, and after UV illumination. According to the company, the testing validated the efficacy of 3M’s photocatalytic materials in reducing smog and contributing towards air purification.

For more information, visit www.3M.com.

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