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By Glenn Marble
#115
One major component of air pollution is ozone. A major problem with our atmosphere is the existence of several "holes" in the Ozone Layer.

My idea is based on the fact that a toroid, or doughnut-shaped fluid mass is self-sustaining. A good example of this is a smoke ring. Someone puffs smoke through their "Oh" -shaped lips and the ring (toroid) moves through the air without losing its shape or contents. On a larger scale, years ago, cigarettes were advertised from outdoor signs by blowing smoke rings on a grand scale from the lips of a person painted on the billboard.

I suggest that, in high pollution areas, we build toroid generators; tall chimneys with "puffing" devices at their base which will draw in the heavily-polluted, high ozone air and literally "puff" the ozone into the upper atmosphere.

I see several problems with this suggestion, so let me point them out before someone else does. First, and foremost, winds will affect the distance the toroid will ascend without losing its shape and coming apart. The flip side of this problem is the fact that if there was very much wind, there wouldn't be much of an accumulation of ozone at ground level. The second problem is upper atmosphere winds. Frankly, I can't think of any way around those. But I'm open for suggestions. Finally, is the technological challenge of devising a toroid generator of sufficient power to send the ozone into the upper atmosphere. I suggest that heating the pollution might increase its tendency to rise and a slightly cone-shaped chimney would increase the velocity.

Reward: If someone actually develops something based on my idea, I'd only ask that they build one in my home town of Baton Rouge, LA - a high-ozone area.
By Intergalactic
#379
I agree: I see several problems with this suggestion...

1) First and foremost, sending "heavily-polluted... air" into the upper atmosphere is a bad, bad idea. Ozone is certainly, as you say, a major component of air pollution, but you're forgetting about the many, many others. Allowing pollutants to reach the stratosphere is what caused the ozone hole in the first place. Along with ozone, the toroid would also contain significant amounts of the substances that lead to ozone destruction. Presumably (and I haven't calculated or simulated this), this method would be a great way to speed up the destruction of the ozone layer.

2) To reach the stratosphere, the proposed toroid would not only have to overcome wind and turbulence, but also penetrate the tropopause. The momentum required would be extremely high.

3) The energy required to produce such momentum would of course also be extremely high, and generate significant ground-based pollution, certainly more than would be removed by the toroid.

4) "High pollution areas" unfortunately don't coincide with the location of the major ozone holes. The time it would take for the toroid's contents to disperse into the upper stratosphere and arrive where you want it to go would be great, and only a small amount would reach the desired destination, while the rest would pollute other parts of the stratosphere.

5) The toroid's ozone would most likely break down long before reaching the stratosphere.

This is, of course, only a partial list, and doesn't even begin to cover minor details like effects on air travel, etc. In sum, the idea is fun to think about, but that's about all. Still, it's better than any of the Bush administration's ideas on dealing with pollution...
By wakingtrouble
#19224
What about using an unmanned, tethered hot air balloon to take ozone up to the ozone layer? Any controls could be done robotically and the baloon could make as many trips as needed.
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