U of G technology helping reduce air pollution

A University of Guelph innovation may hold the secret to cleaning up harmful highway smog and industrial pollutants.

Engineering professor Bill Van Heyst and his research team worked with the company EnvisionSQ on a series of patented SmogStop barriers that were installed along a stretch of Highway 401 in Toronto.

Monitoring the barriers for eight months, the team found a 50-per-cent drop in NOx. The researchers estimate that, over a year, a kilometre of the barrier could remove 16 tonnes of NOx – equivalent to taking 200,000 vehicles off that stretch of road every day.

The company now plans to test a noise barrier in the United Kingdom. Ultimately, the technology might be installed anywhere.

Now, the U of G researchers are helping EnvisionSQ explore other applications for the air pollution control coating. The technology may be used to reduce volatile organics from air inside or around factories in Canada and abroad, from automakers to cannabis production facilities.