A hotel in Chile can purify air, be antibacterial and self-cleaning

Clay Technology magazine
26 Sep 2019

Ceramic panels on a Chilean hotel will purify air, as well as being antibacterial and self-cleaning. Idha Valeur reports.

Hotel Nodo in Santiago, Chile, has a 2,300m2 façade which will be clad with ceramic panels coated with Hydrotect technology, making it the first building in the country able to purify air. The panels are being supplied by Italian company, Laminam.

Hydrotect technology was developed by Japan-based company, TOTO Ltd, and will be used as a coating to pre-treat the ceramic tiles.

TOTO Assistant Manager in the product development section, Yuki Kondoh, told Clay Technology Hydrotect is made up of titanium oxide (TiO2) and binder materials, including silicon dioxide (SiO₂) – liquid glass. To produce these properties, the TiO₂ absorbs ultraviolet (UV) light, which creates two active substances, superoxide anion and hydroxyl radical on the surface, Kondoh explained.

‘Laminam products treated with Hydrotect are porcelain slabs with a titanium oxide coating on their surface. The action of photocatalysis activated by the sun’s rays and atmospheric oxygen is then developed, capable of degrading organic molecules due to pollution, like volatile organic compounds and volatile organic solvents.

This action of TiO₂ is scientifically known and proven. Through this process ceramic slabs are generated, able to fulfil their aesthetic function but also to interact with the environment by purifying the air and making the surfaces placed vertically “self-cleaning”, because the organic deposits on the surface, due to pollution, are made soluble in water and therefore easily removable by the rain,’ Laminam Quality Assistant, Serena Pierini, told Clay Technology.

The technology has multiple areas of use and can be applied indoors and outdoors on façades, as in Hotel Nodo’s case, or on roofs and tiles. Kondoh explained that the lifecycle of the coating depends on the final application, which for a ceramic tile is thought to be over 20 years because it is cured by firing.

The sustainability aspect

According to TOTO’s website, a house of approximately 150m2 coated with Hydrotect will purify as much air as a forest the size of four tennis courts, offsetting the amount of nitrogen oxide (NOx) produced by 12 cars driving at 30km per day.

Hotel Nodo General Manager, Maurizio Mayer, said the total façade area will purify the same amount of air as one and a half hectares of woods, eliminating the NOx produced by 180 cars.

Pierini explained that the production process of the ceramic slabs treated with Hydrotect is sustainable as it does not require anything other than a radiating plate, which is powered by photovoltaic panels on the roof of the Laminam plant in Fiorano, Italy. ‘From an environmental point of view, Hydrotect makes a significant contribution to reducing a part of the pollution emitted by fossil fuels, excluding CO2 and to reducing the use of chemical detergents for cleaning façades,’ she said.

Hydrotect has been used in several constructions, including in a glass office space in Paris, France, and a tiled residential building in Gifu, Japan.

Construction of the hotel is already complete and work is currently underway on interior furnishing. Hotel Nodo is scheduled to open for business this winter.