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The first sustainable material designed for air particulate matter capture: An introduction to Azure Chemistry

Zanoletti, A., Bilo, F., Depero, L.E., Zappa, D., Bontempi, E.
Journal of environmental management 2018 v.218 pp. 355-362
air, best available technology, byproducts, embodied energy, emissions, environmental impact, multi-criteria decision making, particulates, porous media, remediation, silica, smoke, sodium alginate, urban areas
This work presents a new porous material (SUNSPACE) designed for air particulate matter (PM) capture. It was developed in answer to the European Commission request of an innovative, affordable, and sustainable solution, based on design-driven material, to reduce the concentration of air particulate matter in urban areas. SUNSPACE material was developed from by-products and low-cost materials, such as silica fume and sodium alginate. Its capability to catch ultrafine PM was evaluated by different ad-hoc tests, considering diesel exhaust fumes and incense smoke PM.Despite the fact that procedures and materials can be designed for remediation, the high impact on the environment, for example in terms of natural resources consumption and emissions, are not usually considered. Instead, we believe that the technologies must be always evaluated in terms of material embodied energy (EE) and carbon footprint (CF). We define our approach to solve environment problems by a sustainable methodology “Azure Chemistry”. For the SUNSPACE synthesis, the multi-criteria decision analysis was performed to select the best sustainable solution. The emissions and the energies involved in the synthesis of SUNSPACE material were evaluated with the Azure Chemistry approach, showing that this could be the best available technology to face the problem of capturing the PM in urban area.