Building a Greener World: Chemist: Enrico Borgarello

You think cement is just a building material? Here's a man who says it can be a smog buster too

Bertrand Desprez / VU for TIME

Enrico Borgarello

There's a man here who wants to say one word to you. Just one word. Are you listening? Cement. As head of research and development for Italcementi, Enrico Borgarello knows cement isn't considered the most high-tech--or environmentally friendly--of products. But under his direction, the Bergamo-based Italian company has developed a substance that could turn an ordinary building into a weapon against air pollution.

It's called TX Active, and it's an additive for cement that literally eats surrounding smog. "When light shines on TX, the material becomes active and neutralizes surrounding pollutants like nitrous oxide and sulfur dioxide," says Borgarello. According to...

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