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The pollution of the nitrox atmosphere is a global phenomenon.  It requires a global solution.


 

You may conceive of U.S. air pollution, particularly heat-trapping CO2, as continuously dumped into the atmosphere in three big chunks:  One third of the problem, the largest third, comes out of  with fossil fuels.  The other two thirds, smaller thirds, arrive from the fossil-fuel-dependent transportation we use (mostly automobiles, but one sixth of this third comes from air and sea transport), and from the industries we support through consumer purchases (steel, paper and cement tend to be the worst air polluters because they, like the electric industry, burn coal pellets to create heat energy). 

I dream about redirecting Earth's coals and oils to the chemical sector, where these amazing raw materials belong, for creating highly useful products and facilitating non-polluting industrial processes. 

 

Coal, Oil and Gas are GOOD - of highest good - if they DON'T COMBUST in THE OPEN ATMOSPHERE!

 

Unrefined hydrocarbons are messy and can be dangerous, as we have seen in the Gulf of Mexico.  However, here are just some of the most helpful human employments of fossil organic matter.  None of them rely on simply burning fossil organics away, but rather these uses make the most of the incredible collection of hydrogen and carbon atoms that we have inherited.  

Carbon Fiber Nanotubes

Nanoscale carbon nanotubes and buckyballs are created by electrifying graphite, the fully carbonized end product of the fossil organic coalification process. 

 Polymers of nanotubes, now being worked up by Houston's Rice University in partnership with NASA, utilize the smallest (a basic carbon tube fiber is circumscribed by just twelve carbon atoms around a supermicrominiscule open space), lightest (C12 is not a metal), and strongest (hard as a diamond) material yet known.  If nano-scale carbon fibers can be braided together properly, there is no end to the imaginative replacements for tensile metals that could be made.  Imagine bridges suspended securely by pencil-thin main cables, or a reliable mechanical space elevator speedily traversing the miles from Earth's surface to points in geostationary orbit?!

Buckyballs

Buckyballs are bouncy, unbreakable balls of carbon arranged in a spherical atom, usually C60; they, as miniature ball bearings, form the ultimate lubricant, and are also useful for carrying coatings of other chemicals and caging smaller chemicals inside.  

 Why are such atoms called Buckyballs?  Do you remember Buckminster Fuller (inventor/popularizer of geodetic structures)?  Remember his imagined floating cities mounted inside giant spherical balloons? (Re-)discovered by science in 1985 (they're in candle soot, for Pete's sake!), these spherical carbon molecules were termed buckyballs and fullerenes after Buckminster Fuller's 1983 demise to honor that quintessential modernist .

Plastics

Endlessly recyclable polymers ("plastics, my boy") can be made and reused in closed cracking and production cycles. 

 In addition, gasolines, "natural gas" and many exotic lighter hydrocarbons, form indispensible catalysts and fuels for unlimited use in closed loop chemical processes.  These substances are widely burned away into the atmosphere as waste gasses today, but in the future they could become hugely valuable as a permanent reservoir of energy transfer and polymerization medium.

 

If we stopped burning coal, oil and natural gas, then from where shall we get our primary energy?

Of course, solar energy is creating change all the time on Earth, moving water and air, and so eroding and mixing particles of matter, and irradiating and combining and breaking chemicals in the atmosphere, on the surface and in the ocean.  One of the coolest results, in my humble opinion, is us.

 

I dream that all required heat, electric, magnetic and motive power be captured from solar radiation directly, above the atmosphere, where it is roughly three times more powerful than it is down here on the surface of Earth.  This part of the dream, known as Space Solar Power System (SSPS) to NASA, dates back at least to the original oil crisis of 1973.  

 

My dream differs by concentrating sunlight's full strength via sun-orbiting constellations of heavy reflectors/refractors quite a bit nearer the Sun than our Earth orbit, cohering the ordinary sunlight into a massive laser-like river of energy and then beaming a small portion of it toward receivers in Earth orbit such as could be erected on the "dark" side of the moon and networked to artificial satellites, thence safely into the bioshpere as needed.  Such an energy stream could easily exceed Earth-bound needs, and other portions of it could become useful elsewhere in the solar system and its environs.  

 

A directed solar energy network could also provide the measured thrust we will need for further exploration, protection and exploitation of every place in our home solar system.  Imagine accelerating shirt-tailed astronauts in comfort at a steady 1-g half the way and then decelerating at a steady 1-g for the remaining distance toward target destinations like Mars or Jupiter's moons.  Imagine gently nudging speeding comets and asteroids out of deadly collision courses.

 

With energy supply a concern of the past, and the opening of vast material wealth from the comets, asteroids and planets, Earth people could stop fighting so bitterly for limited shares of the future, could both ultimately relax and heartily push toward the creation of their true paradise resulting from the best choices that deliberative planning can offer.

 
Comments, please - paul.suckow@csd.hctx.net