By Mike Costello

LSU is paving the way in developing sustainable technologies for future roads and highways. Assistant professor of Construction Management and Industrial Engineering, Dr. Marwa Hassan is testing a surface treatment that purifies volatile vehicular emissions by pulling the gases from the air and into the pavement.

Hassan is the first in the United States to test this new technology. “This is the first photocatalytic pavement in the U.S. capable of purifying outdoor air from nitrous oxides, volatile organic compounds and sulfur dioxide resulting from traffic emissions,” said Hassan.

The field-testing is being conducted on asphalt and concrete strips on Aster St. and in front of the LSU Union, respectively. So far, Hassan reports a reduction in nitrous oxide levels by 30 percent.

These positive results are good news for the future of the program. The research itself is being funded through an $80,000 grant from the Gulf Coast Center for Evacuation & Transportation Resiliency. Associate Director for the Center, Dr. Dinayak Dixit, says he believes LSU will become the center of development for this technology in the United States. According to Dixit, the program has received attention from the US Department of Transportation and the DOT is optimistic about the technology and its future.

Although the project is still in the testing phase at LSU, both Hassan and Dixit predict two to five years before the technology is available to the market. The field-testing will end a year from now and bring with it the results of the study. Hassan is currently working to obtain funding from the National Science Foundation as a means to continue and expand her research.

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