US Cities Are Using ‘Sun Block’ On Streets And Walkways To Halt Deadly Heat Wave
In the wake of a deadly heatwave that killed hundreds of people and caused several wildfires in the northern United States and Canada last week, cities are racing to find ways to combat rising temperatures.
With climate change set to make conditions even worse in the coming years, a number of companies are working on ways to cool things down in big cities. One such company is trialling a pretty unique method of lowering temperatures, by trialling the use of a ‘sun block’ that can be painted on roads to absorb radiation and break down carbon emissions.
‘Plus Ti’ is in development by Pavement Technology, a Cleveland based tech company, and is currently being tested out in five cities in the so-called sunbelt: Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina, Orlando, Florida and Greenville and Charleston, South Carolina.
The compound is sprayed onto roads, and absorbs into the asphalt to ‘rejuvenate’ a compound in the road surface known as ‘maletenes,’ which works to break down and absorb emissions coming from vehicle engines.
According to The Independent, Pavement Technology describes Plus Ti as a ‘smog-eater,’ but as well as being beneficial to the environment, the ‘sun block’ has the additional benefit of cooling down roads by scattering UV radiation.
This is especially important in large cities where roads, as well as pavements and buildings, re-emit radiation creating what’s known as the ‘urban heat island’ effect, leaving urban areas several degrees higher than surrounding rural areas.
Ken Holton, technical consultant for Pavement Technology, told The Independent that on average, Plus Ti reduced emissions from vehicles by 30 per cent in Charlotte and Raleigh, and said that the company has had increased interest from major cities across the US looking for solutions to the urban heat island effect.
‘We thought breaking down tailpipe emissions and cleaning the air for people to breathe was a big deal. And all of a sudden heat island [reduction] seems to be quite a big deal too,’ he said.
Temperatures in the pacific north west rose to record levels in June, with authorities in Oregon this week declaring the heat wave a ‘mass casualty event,’ after more than 100 people were reported to have died as a result of the dangerously high temperatures in the state. Gizmodo reports that the extreme heatwave was estimated by scientists to be a ‘1-in-1,000-year event.’
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