The Reacting Atmosphere

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„The Reacting Atmosphere“ at „Green Week“ in Brussels

The research network “The Reacting Atmosphere” presented its activities at Green Week 2013 in Brussels. The network had been selected from numerous applicants by the European Commission. Green Week, the largest annual conference on European environmental policy, focused on air quality this year – a key issue of the research network.

„ Although major progress has been made in recent years, air quality standards in densely populated areas of the EU are still frequently exceeded”, says Prof. Dr. Peter Wiesen, deputy coordinator of the research network. This relates in particular to fine particulate matter pollution, ground-level ozone, and nitrogen dioxide. The European Commission currently reviews its guidelines for air pollution control in order to further improve air quality in the near future and to significantly reduce the number of transgressions of air quality standards.

At Green Week 2013 the research network “The Reacting Atmosphere” presented a small photo reactor, which breaks down air pollutants into harmless substances by titanium oxide. “In principal, it is the same substance that is used in sunscreen lotion - titanium oxide” Wiesen says.

Titanium oxide accelerates chemical reactions if UV light is irradiated. Therefore it can be used as a catalytic converter to make air cleaner. With the involvement of BUW the applicability of this process is tested in the framework of the large European research project PhotoPAQ(Demonstration of Photocatalytic remediation Processes on Air Quality:

The research network “The Reacting Atmosphere” is a cooperation of atmospheric researchers, mathematicians, and scientists from the School of Business and Economics at Bergischen Universität Wuppertal together with Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, the atmospheric research institutes in the Institute of Energy and Climate Research at the research centre Juelich, as well as the Rhenish Institute for Environmental Research at the University of Cologne. Since 2011 the network works on the highly complex feedback loops in the climate system taking all influencing factors into account in order to identify the most relevant atmospheric processes, to examine the consequences of political decisions and to develop suggestions for improvements.

Dr. Gabriele Erhardt and Sarah Peters, doctoral student of Prof. Dr. Peter Wiesen, at the exhibition stand of BUW at Green Week 2013 in Brussels.
Dr. Ralf Kurtenbach