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Presenting 13 "Insane" Proposals To Fix China's Unprecedented Smog Problem

Tyler Durden's picture




 

When it comes to ridiculous, bizarre, and even "insane" contraptions, projects and ideas, China is indeed second to none. Which is why it was only a matter of time before China's engineers came up with unprecedented "solutions" to what has rapidly become perhaps the biggest problem for people living in China: air quality, in a broad sense, and specifically: unprecedented smog covering all the major metropolises on a daily basis.

As Vagabond Journey explains "China’s air quality has gotten so bad that it has been described, rather accurately, as resembling nuclear winter, as crazy bad, even as something chewable. It is no longer uncommon for people to wake up in the morning and not be able to see through the opaque haze far enough to cleanly make out the buildings right across the street."

What makes the situation even worse is that the problem is no longer localized to big cities and major manufacturing centers, and “storms” of insanely thick air pollution now have the power to cover incredible swaths of the country (i.e.  the ENTIRE northeast or from Shanghai to Chongqing), shutting down cities and blanketing even natural areas for thousands and thousands of miles.

But fear not: China is on top of it.

Declaring war on air pollution, the PRC is prepared to pump 1.7 trillion yuan ($277 billion) into coming up with solutions to curb the fuzzy sludge that opaques most of their country’s cities. This has led to the creation of several new and innovative, interesting — even ridiculous — pollution fighting methods

So here, courtesy of VJ, are the 13 most head-scratching proposals intended to do just that: fix China's smog. Good luck.

#13. Sky Watering Skyscrapers

Technically, it is called precipitation scavenging. In actuality all this means is turning skyscrapers into giant sprinklers in an effort to wash the skies of pollution. “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 . . . ,” rings the sales pitch of this rather lo-fi geoengineering strategy.

Basically, precipitation scavenging works on the premise that rain clears smog, so artificial rain should do the same. To create “rain,” giant sprinklers will be attached to the roofs of tall buildings in China’s most polluted cities. During times when the air pollution rises due to a lack of rain the sprinklers will turn on, pulling SO2, NOx, and other airborne poisons out of the sky and dropping them down to the ground below. Researchers estimate that even on China’s worst air days it would only take a few hours to a few days of artificial rain to drop the PM 2.5 content down to 35 µg m-3, the recommended WHO limit — leaving blue skies in its wake.

As for where this water will come from, researchers say that it could easily be taken from nearby lakes and rivers, where it could be pumped up to the tops of skyscrapers, sprayed, collected, and then cycled back through the system. Though I have to admit that the thought of having the bubbling sludge from many of China’s polluted waterways being sprinkled out on top of my head doesn’t sound very appealing. The last thing we need is a second deadly aerial assault.

As for the cost of precipitation scavenging, researchers estimate that it would only take 1 kilowatt hour of electricity to lift one ton of water 200 meters, which would apparently only cost around $0.05. “. . . 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.”

(Yes, that’s  a direct quote.)

Oh yeah, proponents of precipitation scavenging would also like to add that their system comes with a built in duel purpose bonus: it could also be used to fight fires.

Read Shaocai Yu’s research on this geoengineering method.

#12. Giant Floating Jellyfish-Like Acid Eating Membranes

If you don’t necessarily like the idea of artificial rain showers of potentially toxic Chinese river water knocking particulate matter out of the sky then here’s another solution you may prefer. It consists of launching squadrons of giant floating jellyfish-like membranes into the sky that eat SO2, NOx, and other pollutants which harm plants, animals, architecture, and humans, and then turning them into reclaimed water and chemical fertilizer.

Floating jellyfish?

Technically they’re called aerocysts.

Aerocysts?

Giant membranes filled with H2.

The H2 makes the aerocysts float and the long flowing tentacles hanging off of their bottoms make them look unequivocally like jellyfish.

If this strategy is ever implemented on a large scale China’s urban skies will be full of these things hovering 200-300 meters off the ground, where the most acidic pollutants hang out. The membrane, which makes up the jellyfish-like “head” of the apparatus is porous and will suck in the acidic materials it touches, thus removing them from the environment.

But these dystopian drones don’t stop there, as after the acidic materials are collected they are run through an on-deck purifier, which neutralizes them with with an on board microorganism produced alkaline substance. The now PH balanced gunk will then be transformed into a neutral, benign liquid with ammonium salt, which will conveniently be derived from the plants which will be growing off of the tentacles. When all filled up, the aerocysts will be programmed to return to port and deposit the liquid into a receptacle, where it can later be used as reclaimed water.

#11. Smog Fighting Drones

While talking about unmanned aerial anti-pollution devices we can’t leave out the array of smog fighting drones that are being tested throughout China. The most promising is a parafoil drone, which basically looks like a generator hanging from a parachute, that is being developed by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China. It’s function is to soar through the air blasting PM 2.5 particles with a chemical which freezes them, thus making them fall to the earth below. Each of these drones can clean a five square kilometer area, which is about large enough to scrub the air around an airport, port, or, as the case may be, urban districts where select groups of influential citizens wish to have cleaner air. Apparently, the Chinese government has already been using fixed-wing drones to chemically remove smog for some years now, but this new design allows each one to carry far more ammunition.

Though, of course, nobody really knows what effect these airborne “chemicals” will have on the humans and environment they will inevitably dust below.

#10. Impregnating the Air with Liquid Nitrogen

It is know that under the right circumstances artificially cooling particulate matter can disperse them from the atmosphere, and liquid nitrogen has been shown to be one of the best smog fighting chemicals yet available. Basically, the idea is to blast industrial coolant into the sky, which can cause crystals to form on PM 2.5 particles, whereupon gravity will do the rest. This method can also create a blanket of cool air which prevents warmer, polluted air from reaching the street surface.

“It is possible in theory to create a smog-free zone with liquid nitrogen and a shield against air pollutants with man-made cold, but even in laboratories we handle liquid nitrogen with care due to its extremely low temperature,” Dr. Wang Xinfeng, a researcher out of Shandong University in Jinan, told the SCMP.

#9. Cloud Seeding

As we’ve previously discovered, precipitation knocks smog out of the skies. So why not just create rain and snow? Cloud seeding, an anti-pollution measure which consists of blasting silver iodine packed rockets into clouds, is back. This was one of the ways that Beijing manufactured blue skies for the Olympics, and, according to a document published by the China Meteorological Administration, in 2015 local municipalities across China will be given the go ahead to use it at will.

When the silver iodine is shot into the clouds it assists in the formation of ice crystals, which then melt and drop to the ground below as rain, cleaning the skies in the process.

As a side note, silver iodide is toxic.

#8. Just Vacuum It

It has been suggested by Dutch researcher Daan Roosgaarde that China could create patches of clean air by essentially vacuuming it up. The method consists of burying Tesla coils just beneath the ground, which would then create an electrostatic field that could create a shaft of clean air by sucking away particulate matter and depositing it on the ground. In laboratory tests at the University of Delft, Roosgaarde has been able to clear smog from a one cubic meter area in five cubic meter room. He currently has a deal with Beijing to test out one of these devices in one of the city’s parks.

#7. Biodomes

A year or so ago a high-end school in Beijing offered my wife a job. Like so many others, she ultimately turned it down due to the atrocious quality of the city’s air. The school’s rebuttal was that they were building a giant bubble around their playground. This fact came off as more frightening than enticing: Is the air there really so bad that people are living in airtight domes?

In China’s smog encapsulated wealthy cities biodomes may soon become a part of life. Well, they may someday become a part of life for those who can afford to go to institutions that can pick up the tab — as at $950 per square meter, biodomes don’t come cheap.

These structures are essentially giant transparent domes that can enclose gardens, playgrounds, sports centers, schools yards — maybe someday even homes or entire neighborhoods. The ambient environment within these pods will be controlled, the air will be filtered of particulate matter and other pollutants, essentially creating an entire artificial environment.

From Dvice:

The “Bubbles” concept is designed to be an encapsulated oasis of clean air, much like the planet-sized air shield from the movie Spaceballs. Bubbles won’t be anywhere near planetary, of course. Instead, this air shield will house a park and botanical garden. Above the canopy, an undulating glass roof will contain translucent solar cells meant to collect whatever light actually penetrates Beijing’s Mordor-like perpetual gloom.

Though their builders are approaching them like any other project. “It’s just an infrastructure project like building metro stations and parks,” said Rajat Sodhi of Orproject, a British company that specializes in biodomes. (Yes, there are now companies specializing in biodomes). Perhaps more than anything else on this list, this strategy makes us realize that yes, it has really come to this.

#6. Banning Outdoor Barbecues

Air pollution looks like smoke and, well, smoke looks like smoke. Cooking food produces smoke, so perhaps cooking could be partiality responsible for the atrocious state of China’s air? Apparently, this is the thinking behind Beijing’s ban on outdoor barbecues. According to the Global Times, almost 13% of the particulate matter in Beijing’s air comes from cooking. That doesn’t quite seem right, but as the GT is the international mouthpiece of the PRC who could deny it? The outdoor barbecue ban was first enacted in 2000 but was not enforced until recently, when the city’s chengguan have been going around smashing smoke emitting street food stales and fining their proprietors.

#5. Removing 6 Million Cars

Calling the country’s environmental situation “extremely grim,” the PRC announced that it will remove nearly 5.3 million higher polluting cars off the roads this year. Basically, all vehicles manufactured before 2005 are going to get the boot. 330,000 will be removed from Beijing alone, and an incredible 660,000 will be decommissioned in Hebei Province, which is one of the smoggiest regions in the world. China currently has 240 million automobiles on the road, half being passenger cars. Though, in rather typical Chinese fashion, the decree lacks a disclosure as to how this measure is going to be put into effect.

Along with this initiative comes a plan to require gas stations in Beijing, Shanghai, and a handful of other large cities to sell only the highest grade, lowest polluting fuel available.

Actually, this doesn’t seem to be that deranged of a pollution fighting method after all.

#4. Removing Mountains

In 1997, Lanzhou’s Daqingshan Project aimed to remove a 1,689 meter high mountain that encased the city improve its air quality — as well as to create a little extra land that could be sold to developers. Lanzhou also has some of the worst air on the planet, which is partially a result of the fact that it sits deep down in a valley and is hemmed in on all sides by mountains. So to increase circulation a little and whisk away some smog the city decided to just remove one of the largest mountains that rose above it. They actually removed half of it before it became obvious that it just wasn’t going to work: the air quality remained as sordid as ever.

This is not a potential “solution” that has yet been replicated elsewhere.

#3. Coal by Wire

Out of sight out of mind. Or, more poignantly, if it’s far away from major cities then who gives a shit seems to be the philosophy behind China’s coal by wire initiative. This is one of the most massive infrastructural projects going in the world today, and consists of building large amounts of coal fired power plants way out in remote places in China’s north and west and sending the energy over thousands of miles to big cities. The initiative is a continuation of an ongoing movement to decentralize and disperse heavy polluting industries into the hinterlands of the country, where less people will see them and feel their immediate effects.

So in-focus places like Beijing and Shanghai will become less and less polluted while previously pristine areas that hardly anybody knows even exist, like Hulunbuir, will become wastelands. Already, the wide open grasslands of Inner Mongolia are speckled with expansive arrays of power plants, and this looks to be a trend that will be intensified over the coming decades.

The biggest problem with coal by wire, besides environmentally assaulting millions of innocent bystanders and destroying China’s last unpolluted frontiers, is the fact that the places most of the power plants are going tend to have a low supply of water. As coal fed power plants need incredible amounts of freshwater to function, there is a definite conflict of interests built into this initiative.

#2. Turning Coal into Gas

China plans to cut down the particulate matter in the northern reaches of the country by 25 per cent by 2017. One of the main ways it intends to do this is by turning coal into gas. While coal is often blamed for the most of China’s air pollution woes, natural gas burns cleaner, creating less emissions. So why not just convert the coal to natural gas in order to use China’s abundant supplies of this energy source in a way that will create less air pollution? That’s the strategy behind China’s new initiative to raise synthetic coal-to-gas output to 50 Bcm a year by 2020, which would account for 12.5% of the country’s total domestic gas supply. To these ends, approval was given to build 18 new large scale synthetic natural gas (SNG) plants across China’s northern fringes.

 

Though this plan does not seem to be the environmental solution it’s initially billed to be:

While SNG emits fewer particulates into the air than burning coal, it releases significantly more greenhouse gases than mainstream fossil fuels. Peer-reviewed studies in the journal Energy Policy estimate that life-cycle CO2 emissions are 36–108 percent higher than coal when coal-based SNG is used for cooking, heating, and power generation. Rapidly deploying SNG projects might, therefore, be a step backward for China’s low-carbon energy strategy.

According to the World Resources Institute (WRI), the production of synthetic gas could ultimately result in twice the total carbon emissions as coal-fired energy.

Converting coal to natural gas is also takes an incredible amount of water. It takes 6-10 liters of water to produce one cubic meter of SNG. As most of the new coal to gas power plants are to be built in the China’s arid northern regions — Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia — they will further add stresses to a water table that’s already coming close to tapping out.

Like the Coal By Wire initiative, SNG production is an effort to keep the big cities of China’s east running with cleaner skies by exporting environmental stresses out to the hinterlands:

Under a memorandum of understanding with the Inner Mongolia Government, Beijing will become the first Chinese city powered by SNG, receiving at least 4 billion cubic meters of the fuel annually. This production would consume more than 32 billion liters of freshwater, enough to meet 1 million Inner Mongolians’ domestic needs for an entire year.

#1. Building Ecocities

The words “eco” and “city” combined together in any fashion sound like an oxymoron. If ecological well-being alone was truly the goal, China probably wouldn’t being plowing up thousands of square kilometers of agricultural fields, small villages, wooded areas, and foothills to build new ecocities. “It’s difficult everywhere, all over the world, to develop something like cities in a sustainable way,” spoke Fanny Hoffman-Loss, the principle architect of the Nanhui eco-city that sits at the far edge of Shangha’s Pudong district. Though there are nearly 300 ecocities that are being built across China. That’s around one ecocity per every two municipalities in the entire country, and the trend is expected to grow until 50% of all new urban developments will flaunt the “eco” banner. These cities are sold as being a low polluting alternative to conventional cities, tend to have tight emissions standards, and are meant to be models for future urbanism. But does building any type of new city from scratch actually serve to better the environment in anyway? Who knows, but in the mean time these intriguing cutting edge developments can at least take our minds off the thick gray air that invariably hems them in.

Conclusion

In the war against air pollution China is obviously very committed, but one relatively decent solution is oddly missing from this list: a reduction of coal power. As emissions from coal fired power plants make up a huge portion of China’s particulate matter it would seem as if improving air quality would mean an immediate transitioning away from this source of energy. But that’s not the case — at least not anytime soon. In fact, China is actively at work increasing its coal power capacity. By 2020 China’s coal derived energy will rise by 75%, taking on another 557GW (around half the total energy capacity of the USA) from 363 new coal fired power plants. China already burns nearly as much coal as almost the rest of the world combined, and plans to rise this intake from 3.5 billion tons per year (2012) to 4.8 billion tons by 2020. Though the PRC claims that it aims to reduce coal power to 65% of the nation’s total energy supply in the coming decade, it also plans on nearly doubling its total energy output — which will be primarily lead by increasing coal energy production.

Yes, in the face of mass public discontent, millions of premature deaths, a pandemic of respiratory illnesses, and economic backlashes due to air pollution, China is rampantly increasing it’s use of coal as an energy source. As each coal fired power plant has a lifespan of 50 to 75 years, China will remain dependent on this energy source throughout most of the coming century — and it’s skies will remain a murky gray sludge, no matter what insane pollution fighting measures are taken.

While some say that tighter regulations on industrial pollution, stronger emission standards, and a quicker transition away from coal power would drastically improve the quality of China’s air, the PRC would apparently rather go with sci-fi-esque smog fighting drones, floating acid eating membranes, biodomes, air sprinkling skyscrapers, cloud seeding, and aerial liquid nitrogen blasters. China wants to have their emissions and breath clean air too, but even with squadrons of pollution scrubbers hovering over airtight domes in the middle of ecocities, ‘Airpocalypses’ will more than likely remain an integral part of the China experience for a long time yet.

 

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Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:07 | 4818398 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

Don't call it a problem, and there it's fixed!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJ4K0hHin9s

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:10 | 4818409 ACP
ACP's picture

I think Krugman just creamed his pants.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:15 | 4818424 Beam Me Up Scotty
Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

JuliaS, you just blew the lid off of every problem known to man, in one single sentence!!!  It's not a problem if no one calls it a problem!

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:29 | 4818465 zaphod
zaphod's picture

Air quality is NOT China's biggest issue.

Water quality is much worse, the difference is it is easy to show poor air quality in pictures anyone can take, but water quality requires an honest government study and reporting. 

If the main solution China's air quality problems are to reduce their available water supply, then things are only going to get much worse over there.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:13 | 4818555 Dick Buttkiss
Dick Buttkiss's picture

State capitalism is the pace-setter, in other words.

Can corporate capitalism catch up?  It's surely giving it its all.

Meanwhile, free market capitalism eats their dust.

As does humanity as a whole.

But as long as the Mutant Ninja Banksters are thriving, all is well.

 

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:48 | 4818641 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

Capitalism, like fiat, is best suited for perpetual growth environment. Free market capitalism rewards efficiencies. Crony or state capitalism rewards inefficiencies. However, both reward spending for the purpose of process acceleration. Capitalism is all about beating the competition - getting there faster. There is little or no throught given to conservation, until scarcity develops. Cronyism depletes the resources faster, but that's about it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6mD3ety4X4

P.S. Apologies for spamming ZH with Johan Söderberg's clips.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:54 | 4818668 zerozulu
zerozulu's picture

How could you export inflation to china and not pollution. If they go back to bicycle, inflation will come back home and pollution too.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 21:07 | 4818694 old naughty
old naughty's picture

b,b,but that means they'd won the war over hegemony, no?

So, bike it is,

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 21:26 | 4818743 markmotive
markmotive's picture

Have you seen the toilets in China? Smog is the least of their worries...

http://www.planbeconomics.com/2013/11/toilets-in-china.html

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 21:34 | 4818751 Aussiekiwi
Aussiekiwi's picture

repeat,sorry

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 09:03 | 4819747 Sisyphus
Sisyphus's picture

Are you sure the pictures are from China and not India. You see similar sights in India, too.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 21:24 | 4818736 Dick Buttkiss
Dick Buttkiss's picture

"How could you export inflation to china and not pollution."

Exactly.  And the chickents are coming home to roost.  Or at least would be if we were going to be producing all this junk on an equivalent scale.

Which, thank goodness, we aren't, though there's going to be hell to pay amid the transition.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 21:20 | 4818710 Dick Buttkiss
Dick Buttkiss's picture

"Capitalism, like fiat, is best suited for perpetual growth environment. Free market capitalism rewards efficiencies. Crony or state capitalism rewards inefficiencies."

Um, well, that was like, you know, my point.

"There is little or no throught given to conservation, until scarcity develops."

There is little or no thought given to anything until scarcity develops, economics being the study of how best to deal with scarcity.  After all, if all goods were as free as the air (used to be), there would be no need for economics, as plenitude would prevail, and humanity would not have to bother itself accordingly.

The problem, however, isn't just that we are turning free goods (e.g. air and water) into economic goods; it's that we are turning economic goods into unavailable and thus unaffordable goods.

And an unaffordable good is literally no good.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:46 | 4818642 Manthong
Manthong's picture

RE the water pollution..  if you are not restricted to a kosher or halal diet, what is wrong with pork flavored water?

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:16 | 4818429 knukles
knukles's picture

Hopefully it was so good for him he had a coronary and aneurism....
And shit his pants too, so if he survives he's got bad diaper rash.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:56 | 4818671 ShrNfr
ShrNfr's picture

Nah, he just had to change his Kotex.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:49 | 4818653 Australian Economist
Australian Economist's picture

Mai Lung Gon

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:08 | 4818402 TeamDepends
TeamDepends's picture

SNAFUBAR

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:13 | 4818415 Bro of the Sorr...
Bro of the Sorrowful Figure's picture

not a good look for the best and brightest

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:18 | 4818419 Beam Me Up Scotty
Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

Biodomes FTW!!  Logan's Run anyone???

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:17 | 4818423 knukles
knukles's picture

I'm impressed. 
If I didn't know better, these proposals are the very same ones being considered in the People's Manic-depressive Socialist Republic of California.
Right along side a hyper rail system (this one has been proposed for real, not the one you always hear about, but another one) between Mexico and LA, so that the Mexicano Laborers can more easily get to and from theri day jobs.

Isn't his shit great, or what?

How about some good olde fashioned population control, FFS?

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:20 | 4818443 Postal
Postal's picture

Funny that you should mention Kalifornia: My solution was to move everyone to SF. Well everyone from Bejing. I sure as hell don't want to go there.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:31 | 4818472 knukles
knukles's picture

One very over-rated city
Very over-rated

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 21:24 | 4818733 Boxed Merlot
Boxed Merlot's picture

One very over-rated city...

 

 

Maybe so, but that Baseball stadium is the bomb. 

I mean, it's good.  I mean, it's better than Candlestick.

And both NoCal teams are doing pretty well at the moment.

 

So we got that going for us, which is nice.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:20 | 4818425 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

Breaking: Fukushima leaks radioactive strontium due to rain!
"Hundreds of tons of radioactive water have been detected near tanks at Japan’s ruined Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station after heavy rains fell over the weekend. The latest developments come as another typhoon with more rain approaches Japan and as U.N. nuclear officials wrap up their review of the country’s progress in cleaning up from the disaster.
"
http://earthchangesmedia.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/storm-causes-radioacti...

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:59 | 4818535 Handful of Dust
Handful of Dust's picture

Aren't the Japanese building an ice igloo, dome, or ice something, around the leaking radiactive reactors? Has the radiative water reached Kali coast in greater amounts yet?

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 22:41 | 4818959 matrix2012
matrix2012's picture

Tepco to start building frozen water underground wall tomorrow (6/2/2014) / 1.5 km, 30m deep, 1550 pipes | Fukushima Diary

http://fukushima-diary.com/2014/06/tepco-to-start-building-frozen-water-...

Fukushima News 6/2/14: Fuku Ice Wall Experiment Begins;Protests & Nuke Plant Restart

Published on Jun 2, 2014

Anonymous Official: Part of ground to sink beneath Fukushima reactors from ice wall being built — Gov't: Biggest fear is ground sinkage and buildings being destabilized — Tepco: It will sink up to 16mm, but should be ok — Scientist: "People have lost confidence in Tepco" (AUDIO)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuOQs9-qE4s

 

Anonymous Official: Part of ground to sink beneath Fukushima reactors from ice wall being built — Gov’t: Biggest fear is ground sinkage and buildings being destabilized — Tepco: It will sink up to 16mm, but should be ok — Scientist: “People have lost confidence in Tepco” (AUDIO)

http://enenews.com/anonymous-official-part-of-ground-could-sink-beneath-...

 

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:18 | 4818440 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

The fact that they have no water makes at least one of them moot...

China will implode in a cloud of its own filth before long...

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 01:04 | 4819270 Matt
Matt's picture

People just need to seal their homes and use a SCUBA tank and airtight suit to travel around. If you are rich, you just need a house on a periscope that goes above the smog. The Jetsons already addressed these issues.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:22 | 4818451 rtalcott
rtalcott's picture

 1 kilowatt hour of electricity to lift one ton of water 200 meters,

 

Seems VERY low to me but I have not crunched the numbers for maybe 10 years.

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 03:00 | 4819413 John_Coltrane
John_Coltrane's picture

Well, the energy required is just m*g*h where the mass is 2000/2.2 ~ 1000 kg, g (gravitational constant) ~10, and h=200 meters, so the potential energy is 10^3*10*2*10^2 = 2 ^ 10^6 joules.  There's 3.6 x 10^6 joules in a KWH so the calculation indicates you could do it if you had 50-100% pumping efficiency.  But you don't have anywhere near that, so the scheme is indeed stupid.  Dissipative friction in the pipes causes major heat loses during pumping as well as limited efficiency of the pumps themselves.  But this does show why the only viable approach to storing intermittant power sources like solar and wind is to pump water up a hill into a reservior.  Which is why they too are so stupid as power sources.

If your worried about chemical pollution don't break chemical bonds, break nuclear ones using fission. 

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:27 | 4818459 Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

Proposal 11: outsource manufacturing to the USA

Proposal 12: electric cars

Proposal 13: bring back bicycles

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:30 | 4818468 Hengist
Hengist's picture

You all do know about scrubbing technology that can remove SO2 from coal fired power plants, it's not exactly new technology and the even newer designs can turn out fertilizer as a byproduct.  The reason the Chinese plants are so dirty is that they do not put scrubbers on their plants.

 

Coal is a fairly clean fuel these days.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:45 | 4818505 Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

I believe the CSIRO in Australa is experimentally using huge modified diesel engines driven by a slurry mix of coal.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 22:13 | 4818866 Zeta Reticuli
Zeta Reticuli's picture

The problem China has is not SO2 pollution, but PM2.5, the small particulates. It is caused by heating and electrical generating plants, car exhust, and even by deserts and all that open ground from all the ongoing construction.

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 03:04 | 4819415 John_Coltrane
John_Coltrane's picture

Even better is direct coal liquefaction as practiced in South Africa.  You harvest the high value liquefied products for your chemical industry and burn the gasses and light hydrocarbons.    The Nazis pioneered this as their only resource was coal for their chemical industry.

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 06:14 | 4819529 strangewalk
strangewalk's picture

According to what I've read, most Chinese coal-fired plants do have scrubbers, but using this technology is expensive and eats into profits. The plant managers activate them when government inspectors arrive, then turn them off when they leave. 

A warning about China's water--don't think boiling will make it safe. The water there is contaminated with toxins like benzene, and heavy metals including lead, mercury and arsenic--boiling won't help. Also, keep in mind that restaurants use tap water for cooking... 

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 07:48 | 4819612 tip e. canoe
tip e. canoe's picture

go long maifan stone.
running water through it cleans all the toxins, including heavy metals.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:31 | 4818469 A Lunatic
A Lunatic's picture

Riddle me this, bitchez.........Why in the HELL are we importing FOOD from China.........?!?!

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:33 | 4818476 knukles
knukles's picture

Because it's all gruten flee?

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:52 | 4818510 Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

It's tlue, they have a fine smog-asboard of ploduct.

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 06:14 | 4819528 Bloody Muppet
Bloody Muppet's picture

Riddle me this, bitchez.........Why in the HELL are we importing FOOD from China.........?!?!

 

You're eating Chinese food?? Now that's insane.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:31 | 4818471 Duc888
Duc888's picture

 

 

 

Hey, I'm Chucky, Chucky, Chucky the "idea man" (from Night Shift movie)....

We should feed all the tuna mayonnaise.....that way we have ready made sandwiches...

Oh, and also...mebbe we should impose strict environmental laws in China the same as King Bonobo did last week here in USSA.  That way we might not have a problem scrubbing the air because we didn't pollute it in the first place.

Naaaaaaaa  Phuck dat chit, I like it when the visibility is 20 ft.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:34 | 4818477 dojufitz
dojufitz's picture

Just get everyone to wear Scuba Gear and problemo solved.....Flippers sold seperatley.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:34 | 4818479 Duc888
Duc888's picture

 

A Lunitic : Riddle me this, bitchez.........Why in the HELL are we importing FOOD from China.........?!?!

Because we need 60M+ illegal Messicans to pick veggies instead of the 30M illegal ones now?

Right back at ya....why is Buckwheat letting China take a huge pass on all the coal burning pollution over there and closing down all the burning plants via EPA laws here in USSA?

 

 

 


Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:41 | 4818498 knukles
knukles's picture

No.
We have a bazillion unemployed and on "disability" who can pick cotton all fucking day long, but won't nor are required to do so.
It is Known Out Here, that if you want on the dole you gotta at least "try" to find work.
Nobody lines up to pick shit.
Nor does the state or Fedralies bus people out to do so.
No, we got the folks, the hands.
We don't have the whateverthefuck you wanna call it.

To wit:  Look at the Pyramids of Giza*, proof that slavery works.

*assuming that you still believe your indoctrination that the Egyptians built the shit

 

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 21:08 | 4818698 Hulk
Hulk's picture

The giza pyramids were made by aliens, but not the illegal, slave type variety !!!

/cue the scary ufo music...

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:37 | 4818481 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

Beyond the Biodomes...

Here is what we have to look forward to: a Chinese economy that shifts manufacturing offshore to Africa and begins manufacturing bankers and lawyers for export...

Don't laugh

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:11 | 4818549 Postal
Postal's picture

Yep. 'Cause the world needs more of both. /s

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:35 | 4818482 knukles
knukles's picture

That shit gets any worse, Detroit oughta charge the Chinee royalties.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:24 | 4818583 franciscopendergrass
franciscopendergrass's picture

Funny, you should mention Detroit.  Detroit wishes it had all that pollution because it would mean that manufacturing was at full capacity and people were actually buying cars.  Maybe losing American manufacturing is the way the left wants to end pollution.  /Sarc off

 

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:38 | 4818488 Duc888
Duc888's picture

zaphod: Air quality is NOT China's biggest issue.

Water quality is much worse, the difference is it is easy to show poor air quality in pictures anyone can take, but water quality requires an honest government study and reporting. 

If the main solution China's air quality problems are to reduce their available water supply, then things are only going to get much worse over there.

 

Not to be a hair across your ass but last time I checked we lived on a water planet. 

LFTR + DESAL plants and we'll all be drowning in fresh water.


Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:16 | 4818562 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

Yup, and half those ideas precipitate out the pollutants onto the ground, which will wind up in the water supply.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:45 | 4818504 J Pancreas
J Pancreas's picture

Viva la biodome! - Polly Shore.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:46 | 4818507 Bogdog
Bogdog's picture

Ok, I'll say it.

Sum Ting Wong.

har har har

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 21:31 | 4818750 Aussiekiwi
Aussiekiwi's picture

That just never gets old, along with, If you like your xxxx you can keep your xxxx.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:51 | 4818516 syntaxterror
syntaxterror's picture

#1 (revised). Wait for the USA, Germany or Japan to invent the technology to solve the problem. Then, invite them to produce the products here and steal the technology.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:09 | 4818544 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

"Banning Outdoor Barbecues"

ROFLMAO!  Are you kidding?  The rat population would quadruple!

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:11 | 4818551 NoDecaf
NoDecaf's picture

Hey China, forget about Russian pipelines...We'll supply you with a steady stream of windbags from DC, we'll take our payment in gold thank you very much in advance.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:17 | 4818565 Democratic koolaid
Democratic koolaid's picture

How about building a Oreck Truman Cell Air Purifiers in the middle of the city the size of a building that will recycle the air and at the same time control the bird population.

On a side not KFC is intrested in the prospects of capitalizing on caught birds for their new breakfast sanwich called the "big bird".

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:23 | 4818580 laomei
laomei's picture

Zerohedge: Buzzfeed Edition

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:28 | 4818600 world_debt_slave
world_debt_slave's picture

Simple, export it to the rest of the world.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:30 | 4818608 robertocarlos
robertocarlos's picture

A brown shower.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 21:11 | 4818688 Peak Finance
Peak Finance's picture

This fucking rocks:

#12. Giant Floating Jellyfish-Like Acid Eating Membranes

I want to live in a city that has this!!

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 22:29 | 4818918 Bemused Observer
Bemused Observer's picture

Yeah, but can you imagine being a little KID in a city like that?

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 01:09 | 4819275 Matt
Matt's picture

That is what I want to see in a sci-fi movie.

As for real life, giant autonomous robots filled with hydrogen gas floating along at the 30-story mark seems a tad risky, are any of those pm 2.5 particles combustible?

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 21:33 | 4818752 Aussiekiwi
Aussiekiwi's picture

More QE needed to fix the problem.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 22:07 | 4818835 I Write Code
I Write Code's picture

Oh, I like the sprinkler solution - solution indeed, spray water through the air and turn it into an ocean of nitric and sulfuric acid, problem solved, building dissolved, people dissolved down to their stainless steel tooth fillings.

If they had the water, which they don't.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 22:26 | 4818908 Bemused Observer
Bemused Observer's picture

About #7, biodomes? Why on earth would they have the lines running through it, like some kinda frickin membrane? Just to enhance the 'creepy-factor'?

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 10:56 | 4820066 headhunt
headhunt's picture

strength

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 22:33 | 4818923 are we there yet
are we there yet's picture

A billion Chinese produce a lot of methane after a chinese breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A billion liters of methane per day could run a chinese powerplant. I claim Southpark skit copyrights. Cartman could really break wind with this plotline.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 23:03 | 4819014 83_vf_1100_c
83_vf_1100_c's picture

  Back in I think the early 70s I recall and article in Popular Science/Mechanics where they proposed building giant fans on the mountains to blow the pollution away from Cali. They never did it of course. They should of, nice pork project they missed out on. /s

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 06:11 | 4819524 inky
inky's picture

83_vf_1100_c hey fans could be the answer.
why dont the chinese just build a huge gigantic fan and sorta just blow all the smog in japans (or who ever is pissing china off at the moment) general direction.

See more than one problem solved,plus i dont think the japs would notice anyway with all the other pollution and stuff they have got at the moment.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 23:37 | 4819097 Strom
Strom's picture

Option #14 - require vehicles to have catalytic converters and follow emissions standards. Worked for LA!

 

http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/In-Gear/2012/0825/Greener-cars-have-im...

 

 

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 01:12 | 4819281 Matt
Matt's picture

"As for the cost of precipitation scavenging, researchers estimate that it would only take 1 kilowatt hour of electricity to lift one ton of water 200 meters, which would apparently only cost around $0.05. “. . . 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.”"

Cutting emissions with catalytic convertors on cars and scrubbers on coal plants is really unacceptable, who will pay for it? It is (supposedly, on paper) cheaper for the government to build some crazy project to solve the problem than to use real things that already work.

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 04:44 | 4819476 random999
random999's picture

Its so funny how stupid some chinese are.

When I lived in southern china  i got annoyed on daily basis how I had to pay "big" money for heating water with gas when there where outdoor temperatures around 35c. Brought to me tube by tube while the big empty rooftop easily could have hosted tens of waterheaters, enough to heat water for the entire house, while the payback period for an installtion could be less than a year (more likely 2-3yr).

A little solarpanel (in the world production hub of solarpanels) above the singleglass panorama windows would easy provide enough electricity to power a airconditioner, while the shadow they cast would limit my need to only 1.

Then last but not least, my chinese friends insisted taking the car everywhere. I remember taking a 1h car ride to a place i usually walk in less than 20 minutes. Now how sustainable is that for cities with 10-20m people?

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 05:07 | 4819485 orangegeek
orangegeek's picture

When global deflation picks up and China's output tanks, that should clear up the air very quickly.

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 06:24 | 4819535 Bloody Muppet
Bloody Muppet's picture

I'm not surprised his wife turned the job down, China's pollution is the worst I've seen. I was in Guangzhou for three months and saw blue sky on one day - a national holiday when the factories closed. The pollution is mind-bogglingly bad, and that's just the air pollution. You don't see the ground, water or food pollution, which is even more worrying. And Guangzhou is about average at around 120 PM2.5 - most major western cities rarely get into triple figures - but some places in China regularly record 400+ Pollution's now at least the fourth biggest killer there, I wonder what lifespan the kids have... sad.

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 07:32 | 4819583 LuciusGermanicus
LuciusGermanicus's picture

I have to go with building more Ecocities.

You can't really complain about air pollution in them if nobody can afford to live in them.

Maybe they could call them giant eco smog traps and remind people how much cleaner the air in their slum is.

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 08:55 | 4819729 Smiley
Smiley's picture

Have John Kerry put up "No Smog Zone" signs and have Obama draw a red line it wouldn't dare cross.

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 09:36 | 4819841 The Blank Stare
The Blank Stare's picture

Ha!! Kevin Costner's already figured this out, designed the machine and has a warehouse of them sitting in boxes.

But can't export them due to new environmental regulations.

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 09:59 | 4819889 andyupnorth
andyupnorth's picture

How about "Solar Freakin' Roadways"? I'm sure China can afford it. They could have the entire country sustained energetically by the solar power coming from their roadways. China could be a pioneer in the mass implementation of this technology and become the envy of the world!

Of course, all that manufacturing would have to be done away from populated areas and would likely devastate a huge swath of land. But once they're done with their own country, they could use their giant manufacturing infrastructure to export this stuff to the rest of the world, and become "good environmental neighbors", and make a whole lot of money too!

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