While power, energy and transport projects tend to soak up most of the dollars invested in infrastructure in the US and Europe, one of the most critical elements of any population centre is often the most overlooked: water and waste infrastructure.
The problems that arise out of this lack of attention can range from the environmental to the life-threatening, when flash flooding catches commuters on an ill-equipped stretch of road unawares.
There are several tried and true methods to mitigate storm-water issues, but what if there were a way to build a road that handled its own run-off?
That’s what the team over at UK-based Tarmac must have been asking themselves when they came up with their idea for Topmix Permeable, aka “thirsty concrete”.
According to Tarmac, it is capable of absorbing up to 880 gallons of water per minute, which is then filtered to remove pollutants.
While the mix performs poorly in sub-zero temperatures and under heavy loads – making it less than optimal for use in traffic lanes – it could have a promising future on highway shoulders and parking lots, becoming an integral element of the ever-evolving modern urban landscape.