The 3M Smog-reducing granules designed for roofing shingles have been named one of the 50 Best Inventions of 2018 by Time magazine.

The list was released today.

"Smog is a silent killer across the globe," writes Time.

To mitigate this pollutant, the smog-reducing granule transforms NOx emissions into a water soluble ions (see video below).

Roofing Contractor first wrote about 3M Smog-reducing granules in July. In October, it was announced Malarkey would carry the product in some of its shingles. Malarkey Roofing Products began utilizing the granules on its Highlander NEX laminated architectural roofing shingle, and has quickly expanded to include other roofing products.

In a brief description of the product in Time, 3M claims the granules on Malarkey shingles have already reduced an amount of smog equivalent to 100,000 trees.

In an intro to the best inventions list, the magazine states that “Time highlights the Best Inventions that are making the world better, smarter and even a bit more fun.”

Nominations were solicited across a variety of categories from Time editors and correspondents along with an online application process.

Submissions were judged on several factors, such as originality, creativity, influence, ambition and effectiveness.

“The result: 50 groundbreaking inventions that are changing the way we live, work, play and think about what’s possible,” the intro to the list states.

Integrated throughout a shingle’s surface, 3M’s roofing granules are designed with a specialized photocatalytic coating applied to the base mineral. 

The specialized coating on the granule is activated by the sun’s UV rays, while blending inconspicuously into various shingle color combinations. As sunlight hits the shingles containing the smog-reducing granules, radicals are generated and transform nitrogen oxide gases into water-soluble ions improving air quality. This smart solution for pollution mitigation can help communities contribute toward their NOx emission reduction efforts.

“3M is leading the way with roofing technology solutions for improving environmental impacts on human health and welfare,” said Frank Klink, senior laboratory manager, 3M, when the product was first revealed. “The roofing granules are a first for residential asphalt shingles. The new 3M granules will help roofing manufacturers develop high quality, aesthetically-pleasing shingles that can turn any roof into an active smog reducing catalyst, essentially becoming smog’s worst enemy.”

To prove out the technology, 3M submitted granule and shingle samples to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for evaluation. Performance testing occurred using challenge gasses in a reaction chamber. Downstream of the system, NOx concentrations were recorded in real time, prior to, during, and after UV illumination. The testing validated the efficacy of 3M’s photocatalytic materials in reducing smog and contributing towards air purification.