Pureti, A US company with facilities in Michigan and Connecticut, is offering a group of spray-on products that it says can make any surface self-cleaning while also lowering air pollution in the vicinity, according to Newsweek.
At the heart of the products is titanium oxide, also known as titania. When ultraviolet rays from the sun or from artificial light sources hit the surface of a titania-covered object, it initiates a chemical reaction in which water molecules are split into hydroxyl radicals. These, in turn, seek out any organic matter touching its surface (including germs and viruses) and break it down into smaller molecules. Ultimately this results in cleaner air.
Although the properties of titania were discovered by two Japanese scientists back in the 1960s, it has been slow to catch on in the US, though this could be changing. Last season, Pureti treated a section of Miami’s Sun Life Stadium with the product. The treated area returned to a clean state after a day of sunshine, in contrast to nearby areas that were beginning to accumulate mold and needed power-washing. As a result, the stadium’s facilities management company had Pureti coat the entire stadium with the spray.
In other parts of the world, the product is catching on more quickly. Caretakers of La Pedrera in Spain are using it to keep mold from growing in the facility’s complex crevices. Hotels in the Bahamas and Venice are using it in their luxury suites to manage odor and improve air quality. London is considering a citywide program to apply it to roads and public buildings to get levels of mono-nitrogen oxides down. NASA plans to test it for use on solar panels. HOK and Johnson Controls are both beginning to include Pureti’s product in the specification processes for the buildings they manage.
In Japan, companies including Toyota, Panasonic, Fujitsu and Bridgestone all use titania. In fact, it is nearly a requirement in new product introductions, Newsweek reports. There, windows, walls and even roads are coated in titania.