Monday, December 22, 2008

Enhancing Evaporation

Every idea needs a champion and Ron Ace is cheer leading the idea of blasting sea water into the atmosphere beside deserts and the West African coast in particular. The idea is not wrong per se but the methods described scream excessive energy and other issues.

I posted over a year ago on work been done beside the desert coast in which water was lifted and then dripped through an exchange mat in conjunction with a greenhouse operation. It was essentially doing the same thing a lot more efficiently and pragmatically.

We already know that humid air can be exploited with the Eden Machine to grow trees that respirate the same water for a downstream repetition ad infinitum. The weakness occurs in those places were the onshore winds are dry. There is no humidity to start with.

It is thus possible that a coastal structure can be designed to produce humid air. The problem is to produce a lot of humid air. A six foot layer hardly cuts it. It is just that I am not so sure even a two hundred foot lave would be enough either.

The greenhouse system would work but only to produce a thin layer of very humid air. A more practical idea may be to integrate it with our windmills. Jetting sea water out of the trailing edge of the air foils can be tuned so that it all evaporates and little energy expended. Staggering the mills in echelon inland should allow a maximum amount of air to be moistened in this manner. Perhaps this can be combined with the greenhouse idea.

This is certainly mega engineering on a grand scale, but again can be built out in economic bite sized pieces over longer time scales allowing the advancing woodlands and populations to keep pace,

Inventor: Evaporation units could cool Earth

Some scientists find idea intriguing, others scoff at plan


Dec. 20, 2008, 5:43PM

Ron Ace has studied the Earth's climate cycles for three years and has filed for a patent on a way to prevent global warming that his computer models show is effective, but others question his work.

WASHINGTON — Ron Ace says that his breakthrough moments have come at unexpected times — while he lay in bed, eased his aging Cadillac across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge or steered a tractor around his rustic, five-acre property.

In the seclusion of his Maryland home, Ace has spent three years glued to the Internet, studying the Earth's climate cycles and careening from one epiphany to another — a 69-year-old loner with the moxie to try to solve one of the greatest threats to mankind.

Now, backed by a computer model, the little-known inventor is making public a U.S. patent petition for what he calls the most "practical, nontoxic, affordable, rapidly achievable" and beneficial way to curb global warming and a resulting catastrophic ocean rise.

Spray gigatons of seawater into the air, mainly in the Northern Hemisphere, and let Mother Nature do the rest, he says.

The evaporating water, Ace said, would cool the Earth in multiple ways: First, the sprayed droplets would transform to water vapor, a change that absorbs thermal energy near ground level; then the rising vapor would condense into sunlight-reflecting clouds and cooling rain, releasing much of the stored energy into space in the form of infrared radiation.

McClatchy Newspapers has followed Ace's work for three years and obtained a copy of his 2007 patent petition for what he calls "a colossal refrigeration system with a 100,000-fold performance multiplier."

"The Earth has a giant air-conditioning problem," he said. "I'm proposing to put a thermostat on the planet."

Although it might sound preposterous, a computer model run by an internationally known global warming scientist suggests that Ace's giant humidifier might just work.

Effects would be immediate

Kenneth Caldeira, a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University, roughly simulated Ace's idea in recent months on a model that's used extensively by top scientists to study global warming.

The simulated evaporation of about one-half inch of additional water everywhere in the world produced immediate planetary cooling effects that were projected to reach nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit within 20 or 30 years, Caldeira said.

"In the computer simulation, evaporating water was almost as effective as directly transferring ... energy to space, which was surprising to me," he said.

Ace said that the cooling effect would be several times greater if the model were refined to spray the same amount of seawater at strategic locations.

He proposes to install 1,000 or more devices that spray water 20 to 200 feet into the air from barren stretches of the West African coast, bluffs on deserted Atlantic Ocean isles, deserts adjoining the African, South American and Mediterranean coasts and other arid or windy sites.

To maximize cloud formation, he'd avoid the already humid tropics, where most water vapor quickly turns to rain.

"It does seem like evaporating water outside the tropics would be more effective," Caldeira said.

Buying time for research

Several scientists who reviewed Ace's patent petition for McClatchy reacted with caution to outright derision over its possibilities, but some softened their views upon learning of the computer model.

It would be relatively easy to design spraying equipment to carry out his plan to fill that water vapor deficit, but it would take a major international effort to install 1,000 large spraying devices, or thousands of smaller ones.

If fully deployed, the 15,800 cubic meters of sprayed water per second would be equivalent to the flow at the mouth of the Mississippi River and would require enough energy to power a medium-sized city.

However, spraying only a portion of that amount for a decade would be enough to cool the equivalent of current man-made global warming, estimated to range up to 0.76 degrees Fahrenheit, Ace said.

Such cooling, he said, could buy mankind decades of time for more research and precision.

Ace has his doubters, partly because he took the patent route rather than submitting his idea for scientific peer review. A patent certifies that an invention is unique, not that it would work.

David Travis, a University of Wisconsin-Whitewater professor who's studied clouds extensively, praised Ace's innovation, but said he's "generally opposed to geo-engineering" solutions and can't imagine evaporating water on a large enough scale to have a near-term effect.

Caldeira, who plans to submit his computer findings for peer-reviewed publication, is among scientists so concerned about sluggish progress in curbing greenhouse gases that they met last year to consider geo-engineering options.

One thing is certain: Ace is dead serious. He's tenaciously compiled more than a thousand pages of research, sometimes during all-night binges despite a fight with cancer. He said he's invested large sums in patenting his global-warming inventions.

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