At HIGITECH Eco-Sustainable, we work with photocatalytic compounds. We treat surfaces of different materials providing them with SELF-DISINFECTING, DECONTAMINATING and SELF-CLEANING properties thanks to photocatalysis.
Photocatalysis is a process by which a catalyst (in our case Titanium dioxide, TiO2) is activated by UV radiation produced by the sun. When exposed to UV light in the range of 385 nm, TiO2 becomes an oxidation catalyst, so it creates hydroxyl radicals and superoxide ions that are twice as strong as chlorine and 1.5 times stronger than ozone disinfectant. Through oxidation-reduction reactions, it degrades both viruses and bacteria, harmful compounds found in the atmosphere (NOx) and organic matter.
TiO2 breaks down and destroys the cell membrane. Most microbes are single-celled organisms that die quickly when any part of them comes into contact with a treated surface. Because of its oxidation mechanism, titanium dioxide also breaks down the toxins that are released when the microbes die, reducing them to a harmless vapor. In this way, every time the treated surface is in operation (activated by the sun), all types of viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms are being eliminated, thus achieving SELF-DISINFECTION.
The incorporation of the photocatalyst turns the treated material from an inert material into an active one. When sunlight reaches the photocatalytic surface, it captures the NOx (NO and NO2) from the air and uses the sunlight to degrade it via photocatalysis, converting it into nitrate (natural fertilizer). The nitrate is washed out with rainwater or periodic washing, resulting in clean, pollution-free air. Photocatalytic technology offers "zero contribution" to the nitrate cycle, since the nitrate that is created through the photocatalytic process is also created when NOx comes into contact with the atmosphere, manifesting itself as acid rain.
Therefore, photocatalytic technology eliminates NOx before it harms humans and the environment.
The treated surface becomes smoother, so from the first moment, dust and dirt particles have much more difficulty to adhere to the surface, so the level of dirt is reduced drastically. The organic material that is deposited is degraded through the chemical reactions produced by the catalyst, destroying them, making the surface much easier to clean. Finally, thanks to rainwater, or a wash with little water, we are able to remove all the dirt from the surface, leaving it clean and free of particles. The surfaces become hydrophilic (which attracts water), getting the water to spread around it, removing the dirt more easily. The surface remains clean, a perfect result with the minimum effort.