In the past 30 years, China has suffered from air pollution and heavy haze created by fast industrial growth and economic expansion. An Environmental Chemistry Letter research journal article reviews the techniques for remediation of air pollution. A geoengineering method is proposed for mitigating air pollution and haze in China’s cities by using water to scavenge air pollution. Here, water should be sprayed into the atmosphere like watering garden. The scientific rationale and mechanism for the geoengineering scheme are explained. It is found that precipitation scavenging coefficients are very sensitive to the size distributions of both aerosol and raindrops, and rain intensity. I found that the water spray geoengineering method can reduce the PM2.5 pollution in the atmosphere very efficiently to 35 μg m−3 level [World Health Organization level which is about ten times less than the bad days in China’s major cities] in a very short time period from few minutes to hours or days, depending on the precipitation characteristics. In addition, the water spray geoengineering method has excellent advantages such as rapidity, already available technology, low cost, and a nature-like process. This proposed geoengineering scheme can be one of the answers for fighting air pollution in the cities globally.
China has planned to spend hundreds of billions to fight air pollution. Deploying these systems on a large scale might only be a few million per skyscraper.
Research and experiments are underway to design a suitable water delivery system for this plan. The system would have the added benefit of improving the high rise fire fighting capabilities.
If you can spend half an hour watering your garden, you can also spend 30 minutes watering your ambient atmosphere to keep the air clean with this technique. China’s air pollution was responsible for 350,000 to 500,000 deaths in 2013. In a December 2013 paper published in Lancet, Zhu, whose term as Health minister ended last year, called China’s polluted air the “fourth biggest threat to the health of Chinese people” behind heart disease, dietary risk and smoking.
For low-cost issue, the low-tech nature of this geoengineering approach has led us to believe that it will cost much less than many other interventions such as cutting emissions. If the water spraying system is installed at the top of the buildings in the cities and water can be obtained from the rivers and lakes or any water system easily, the cost for deployment of this geoengineering approach will be very low. The square areas will need to build the high towers to deliver the water to high attitudes and will cost a little more. Besides, the water after falling to ground by this geoengineering approach can still be recollected on the ground and reused for the next precipitation scavenging processes. The geoengineering approach can be used on a massive scale with low cost as expected. If you can offer a half-hour watering your garden, then you can offer a half-hour watering your ambient atmosphere to keep air clean by this geoengineering approach.
There are some side benefits for this geoengineering approach too. Since the precipitation scavenging can also remove other gaseous pollutants such as SO2 and NOx from the atmosphere, the geoengineering approach can serve to mitigate the root causes of the other air pollution problems such as O3 as expected.
The US geological service has some information on rainfall. The water spraying system would be creating about 30 minutes of artificial rain on days that have no rain and high pollution levels. China has another large water project that quoted 1 kilowatt hour of energy to raise one ton of water by 200 meters. If there was 100 hours of artificial rain needed per year, then we would just need to know the rate or amount of artificial rain for the air pollution cleaning effect. The energy times about 0.05 dollars per kilowatt hour would approximate the operating cost.
China is developing and deploying factory mass produced skyscrapers that are lower cost. The Broad group skyscrapers (15-100 stories) could also be deployed in more small cities to allow for water spraying artificial rain.
Neutralizing acid in the air with giant jellyfish shaped blimp membranes at the 200-300 meter level
Produced by the fossil fuel used in abundance, as well as the heavy traffic and industrial production, the SO2 and NOx drives the PH value of atmosphere under 5.6. Gradually precipitating to the surface of the earth, these acidic materials have caused great harm to plant, architecture and human beings.
The project aim to use a gentle way to manage Acid Deposition and eventually turn pollutants into available resources (reclaimed water and chemical fertilizer) for the region of Chongqing.
The project is set to be 200-300 meter high where acidic pollutants gather. The aerocyst filled up with H2 at the top of the building provides buoyancy to it. The porous membrane attached to the air bags can absorb the acidic materials, like acid fog, collect and put them into core purifier where neutralization takes place with alkaline substance produced by nitrogen-fixing microorganism via biological action, which is stored in the purifier center.
With neutralization, acid pollutants can be transformed into neutral liquid with ammonium salt which will be absorbed by plants attached on tentacle pipelines as green nutrients. The remained liquid will be delivered to the terminal tank as the source of reclaimed water.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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