Catalyst is a permanent work sited in the cultural quarter of Dundee in Scotland. Catalyst takes the form of a draped life-sized car that has been cast in special catalytic cement. This is a new type of concrete material that performs a strange alchemy. Hidden within its make up is a catalytic material (nano-crystalline grade of titanium dioxide), that reacts with light to trigger the molecules of air borne pollutants, such as nitric oxides, carbon monoxide and sulphur monoxide to break apart. Daylight initiates this reaction on the active surface of the concrete, converting harmful nitrogen oxides into harmless nitrates, these are held on the concrete surface until the next rainfall, when it drains off into the soil and can be absorbed by plants. This was the first time this material had been used in the UK.
Commissioned by Dundee City Council and a Scottish Arts Council Creative Scotland Award funded all the research and early trials with the material.