Public: City: Climate
Air Pollution Removal System   (+2, -1)  [vote for, against]
Cleaning air, heating factories, improving skylines

Factories use vertical stacks to release polluted air into the environment. These masses of effluent have many useful chemical agents (sulfur, carbon) that are too difuse to collect economically - for just one factory.

Suppose, however, we convert vertical stacks fromseveral factories into a forced-air conduit system that removes the polluted air and bubbles it through a mass of water in a sealed tank. This removes particulate matter which can be collected and processed for useful elements, if any.

Gas bubbled through the water would transfer heat to the water. A heat exchanger system could channel this heat either to a deepwell cooler (summer) or to homes etc. (winter) unless the water was actually boiling hot. In that case it could be used for electrical generation. After running through the water, the poisonous gasses would be compressed into tanks and either reacted with minerals for permanent storage or possibly even re-sold for other uses.

Skylines would be improved by the removal of towers, except in those cases where really tall towers were converted into space-needle-like attractions with restaurants and/or viewing platforms.

The economics of this stems from putting air cleaning on a public utility footing such as is done for water right now. Factories would be assessed an annual fee (tax?) based on metered flow of effluent.
-- Moonguy, Jun 13 2008

Like this? http://villagenewso...uce_Pollution.shtml
[coprocephalous, Jun 13 2008]

Sort of, except that the system you linked sprays a mixture of water and limestone into the effluent. This is effective, but not really practical on a utility-scale. The system I outlined connects a number of factories and is much larger in scale. It sort of does the opposite - forcing the effluent through water and mineral beds and, where applicable, collects gasses (chlorine or nitrogen for example) for other uses. Thanks for the link though!
-- Moonguy, Jun 13 2008

Some years ago I visited a large power station in the UK that had been mandated to install scrubbers because of the acid rain pollution it produced across the North Sea.
I noticed that the roads around the station were in very poor condition, and jammed with large trucks. Grass verges were churned up and buildings were stained by diesel fumes.
Despite the station having a dedicated rail spur, they were shipping the limestone in, and the gypsum out by road, because that was thought to be the cheapest option (I guess the rail company just wasn't trying hard enough).
It struck me at the time that they were simply swapping pollutants and victims.
-- coprocephalous, Jun 13 2008

O.K. I'm not quite getting your point relating your experience to this concept. Are you saying the idea wouldn't work because limestone (or whatever) is having to be trucked in?
-- Moonguy, Jun 13 2008

The limestone needs to be quarried, crushed and transported, used in the scrubbers, then the gypsum has to be removed. Fair enough to build the scrubber on top of a limestone quarry but the system is still going to consume quite a lot of energy.
-- 8th of 7, Jun 13 2008

Doesn't that really depend on the frequency with which the limestone/gypsum must be added/removed? That would seem to be an argument for a larger system presumably needing less-frequent servicing. Also, I do not believe the system would be completely energy efficient. I am suggesting that thermal pollution would be minimized (not eliminated completely) with - possibly - some power being generated.
-- Moonguy, Jun 13 2008

interesting idea having the gaseous equivalent of a municipal sewer line... but why stop at industrial loads ? you could make residential gas furnaces do the same thing.
-- FlyingToaster, Jun 13 2008

This sounds like a very expensive pipeline, as it would have to be large to reduce pumping looses, be able to handle heat and be resistant to some nasty chemicals (acids, bases, etc.), I'd suggest to at least do the cooling on site, so you can use plastic pipe. Any heat would probably bleed out during transit anyway.
-- MisterQED, Jun 13 2008

random, halfbakery