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Glass Steam SuperStacks

Or, Really Tall "smoke stacks" made of Glass
  [vote for,

Let me start by referencing [ldischler]'s Idea, "Cooling the earth with contrails", linked below. I'm also copying one of the links from that Idea, about how after Sept 11 2001, for three days there was no significant air traffic in the U.S., making contrails, so scientists got lots of good data about the effect of contrails. I remember reading about that at the time the results first came out, about a year later.

Just like clouds, contrails are. Same albedo (reflectance) and composition (fog) and so on. So they reflect sunlight during the day, helping to prevent excess warming, and during the night, if they haven't dissipated, they reflect infrared back toward the ground, helping to prevent excess cooling. Deserts are famous for being cold at night, because there is so little water in the air above them (even when not condensed into fog/clouds, water vapor counts as a greenhouse gas).

It seems to me that What We Need is a way of increasing the amount of water vapor in the air by day, in the form of clouds, to directly fight warming, and decreasing it at night, to let the heat out. This Idea relates only to the first thing, just like [ldischler]'s. I suppose sometime I'll have to concoct some wild notion to accomplish the second thing (I'm not sure that there ARE any such notions ever suggested along that line).

I'm writing this partly because of a flaw I see in [ldischler]'s notion of adding a chemical to make contrails last longer. If they last longer, such as overnight, then they are at that time NOT working to help cool the earth. Also, remember that as jets become more fuel-efficient, each jet causes less contrail than in earlier years. We need more jet flights to compensate, but global petroleum supplies, from which jet fuel is made, is starting to fail to keep up with demand. In the not-too-distant future, there may be no jet contrails, right when we need them most!

Okay, so you see that this Idea has a title and subtitle about really tall glass smoke stacks for steam. "Really Tall" needs to be near-stratospheric level (more than 5,000 meters or 16,400 ft). Some sort of supporting strutwork/truss made of titanium will probably be required, like a giant Eiffel Tower. And we need a bunch of these things.

At the base of each Glass Steam SuperStack is a glass-covered area, over seawater. We will have an actual ordinary Greenhouse Effect here, when the sun shines, so a lot of water will be warmed and will evaporate.

The rising vapor is funneled into our Glass Steam SuperStack. Since it is made of glass, the Greenhouse Effect continues to warm the vapor! (We may encourage this by having a movable black light-absorber inside the stack, so that sunlight that enters doesn't pass all the way through.) By the time it rises to the top of the Stack, the vapor should be moving fast enough to keep on rising well into the stratosphere. It will also expand and cool, and VERY PROBABLY will condense into a cloud form, very much like a jet contrail, as the high winds at that altitude carry it away from the Glass Steam SuperStack.

Quite a lot of cloud cover should be created continously by these things, at no cost in jet fuel or special chemicals (a major advantage over [ldischler]'s Idea). This Idea is designed to inject massive amounts of water vapor into the stratosphere in the daytime.

Now all we need is a way to remove it at night!

Vernon, Sep 20 2006

Cooling the earth with contrails Cooling_20the_20earth_20with_20contrails
As mentioned in the main text [Vernon, Sep 20 2006]

Analysis of contrails, after Sept 11, 2001 http://www.scienced...08/020808075457.htm
As mentioned in the main text [Vernon, Sep 20 2006]

W.A.S.C.W.V W_2eA_2eS_2eC_2eW_2eV_2e
Well, I already have one mad Idea about getting the water vapor out.... [Vernon, Sep 20 2006]

Space fountain http://en.wikipedia...wiki/Space_fountain
Example of an active structure - others are listed under "Variants" [BunsenHoneydew, Jul 10 2009]


       As the highest manmade structures ever constructed, where do you site these 16,400 foot towers that:
A. Provides the most direct benefit for the investment;
B. Does not interfere with air traffic and/or shipping lanes;
C. Does not create an artificial communications shadow for nearby communities or cities;
D. Will not be endangered by natural meteorologic or seismic occurences?
jurist, Sep 20 2006

       [jurist], off the coastline is one place. The continental shelf extends a considerable distance in some places. There may also be a way to put a much smaller Stack on a mountaintop, with appropriate ducts and bores to carry water to it from a nearby sea. Then an area at the base of the mountain becomes a glassed-over pool, and the sunlit Glass GreenHouse Tube simply lies along the mountainside, all the way up to the actual Stack.
Vernon, Sep 20 2006

       Could these constructions also generate power with a turbine by all this convection? Could we staple them to our space elevator so they won't have to bear their own weight?
GutPunchLullabies, Sep 20 2006

       [GutPunchLullabies], I think there already is an Idea somewhere around here for a solar power plant using a turbine in a "stack". I deliberately avoided mentioning power generation because any power tapped means less final altitude for the steam leaving the stack. It NEEDS to go high enough to always condense from vapor into white reflective clouds.   

       Next, space elevators will only exist at the Equator, and we would want to put these things in more places than that.
Vernon, Sep 20 2006

       It recently occurred to me that if a Glass Steam SuperStack is only operated for PART of the daytime, the cloud cover it generates, to reduce daytime warming, would have a chance of thinning out by the time night arrives, thus solving the problem of how to get clear skies to promote night-time cooling.
Vernon, Mar 04 2009

       You mention that we 'need' aircraft flying in the skies in order to reduce global warming, surely (as pretty much the worst fuel/passenger-mile transport systems around) the fewer of these devices operating the better?   

       The idea itself seems to make sense, but the capability of the human race to build something that tall, let alone clear, is unlikely.
Skrewloose, Mar 04 2009

       [Skrewloose], I was referring to the need for more contrail/clouds in the daytime, when lower fuel supplies make it less possible to put them there. Efficiency of transportation is not the point; efficiency of cloud-generation is the point.   

       And sure, it might be rather difficult to build the proposed GSSS. So? This is the HalfBakery!
Vernon, Mar 05 2009

       The world certainly needs more of these Eiffelian, titanium, spidery strutwork truss and glass Steam(punk) SuperStack spectaculars scattered about, glistening and steaming in the morning sun. Bravo [+]   

       An active structure [link] would help with the engineering.
BunsenHoneydew, Jul 10 2009


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