The technical centre of Italian cement producer and distributor Italcementi Group and the IT institute of the Italian National Research Council (CNR) have joined a 3.4 mln euro ($4.2 mln) European test project Photocatalytic Innovative Coverings Applications for Depollution Assessment (PICADA), it was reported on March 15, 2004. European consortia of private enterprises, research institutes and the European Commission’s Joint Research Center (JRC) run the project set to combat air pollution. (Editor’s note: PICADA is closely within the scope of the European programme called Competitive and Sustainable Growth.) The EC will fund the program with up to 1.9 mln euro ($2.3 mln).
PICADA is aimed at studying and developing a range of construction materials including plasters, mortar, concrete and coatings containing titanium dioxide (TiO2), a component which has self-cleaning and depolluting properties. The special construction materials and coatings can capture organic and inorganic air pollutants after they have been exposed to ultra-violet and/or sun rays. The degraded polluting substances can then be washed away by rainwater. The new construction materials are expected to help reduce levels of nitrogen oxides and of other toxic substances such as benzene.