In cities, particles stirred
up in the air near the ground are now believed to be more harmful to people
than gases emitted by car exhaust systems. These particles consist of
microscopic bits of tire, carbon ash, paper, concrete dust, and general debris
which is continuously roused by wind produced by passing automobiles. These
particles remain in suspension from minutes to hours, even when the air
movement simmers down at night. It is these particles that irritate the lungs
as much, or more, than nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, and other gases emitted
by car engines, because those gases are dispersed by wind.
The present system of
controlling emissions, or changing to electric cars will not solve this
problem. However, if each car could clean the air dirtied from the car ahead of
it, then different possibilities emerge.
A Remedial Solution:
According to an idea I
conceived in 1992, each car could be equipped
with a simple air filter mounted anywhere on the car. The filters would require
no moving parts, dependent only on the movement of the car through the air to
provide mechanical filtering.
For example, suppose each
car has an Air Scoop with a 6"X6" opening. This opening could be of
any shape. If the Air Scoop were mounted underneath the car, it might be
12"X3" or any similar size to provide a streamlined contour that would
not interfere with road clearance.
An electrostatic grid could
eventually be added to the Air Scoop to increase the filtering efficiency.
In cities with dirty air, the
filter, which could be made of recycled paper, would probably have to be
changed with every gasoline fill up and a simple mechanism for changing the
filter would have to be designed.
Assuming an average speed of
30mph, One car on the road for ten hours a day would process about .4 million
cubic feet of air. An area of one square mile, ten feet high is approximately
280 million cubic feet. Therefore, 1,000 cars driving continuously for ten
hours would filter the air in 400 billion cubic feet.
With the continuous use of
Air Scoops, the air would eventually become clean and clear, rather than smoggy
and noxious, as it is today.
To be effective, this filter
would have to be used by practically everyone; public awareness and education
programs would have to be skillfully devised. The present climate of environmental
awareness would help such a device 'catch on', and eventually, it would
probably become standard equipment on all vehicles.
The cost, juxtaposed to the
benefits, would be minimal. Of course, there would be a slight cost associated
with decreased mileage due to the air resistance of the of the filter, but this
would be insignificant compared to the health benefits of clean, breathable
air. The retail price of an Air Scoop might be around $50. Filter replacements
would be standardized and available at any gas station.
Since so much time is currently
spent moving slowly or not at all in heavy traffic, the AIR Scoops would
probably best be equipped with a small suction fan that might come on
automatically when the speed of the vehicle dropped below 15 miles per hour.
Eventually the Air Scoop could
be made so as to remove fine particles, or even transform carbon dioxide into
oxygen and carbon.
Many boats could also be
equipped with scoops which may help keep the water clean, especially big city
harbors. This could be either a separate system or combined with the water
intake cooling system. Only the addition of a removable filter would be
different to allow for particles to be removed permanently from the water.
The manufacture of Air
Scoops could begin in Santa Cruz,
and would expand to a worldwide market in a short amount of time. Many cities
outside of the United States have much dirtier air and would benefit in
Loans for beginning the manufacture
of Air Scoops, and for educational public campaigns might be readily available
as this is a much needed product
Persons who would like to
work on this project please call Dr. Buryl Payne (831) 475-4250