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James West has written a fun and interesting article on climatedesk.org that looks into some of the funkier climate change mitigation designs recently issued patents by the US patent office. Here I will give a brief rundown of some of the inventions that he selected, but the full article can be found here.
The first design was submitted by Nike Golf, and is a special golf ball that is intended to absorb CO2 from the air. Basically, when you hit the ball, the surface deforms slightly under the pressure, causing a chemical reaction that absorbs carbon dioxide as it flies through the air. Nike have admitted that the amounts of CO2 absorbed are tiny, but that it can be enough to make the ball carbon neutral, and in that sense a first of its kind.
At the end of October it was revealed that summer temperatures in the Arctic are at the highest level for 44,000 years, and sea ice is constantly melting to record lows. The simplest solution to fixing this problem seems to be replacing the sea ice that has melted, and as childish as that idea may seem on the surface it is actually a plausible idea, according to Phillip Langhorst.
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Langhorst’s invention would see a layer of ‘ice’ substrate placed across the surface of the ocean, or a lake, and left there. The upper surface would reflect sunlight back into space using three-corner retro reflectors, and the lower surface would contain nutrients that would encourage the growth of algae, which could then be processed to create biofuel. After a few weeks a ship would scrape the algae off the substrate layer and reapply the nutrients.
Langhorst explained that “in order to solve global warming we’re going to have to do something on an insanely huge scale. And this is the only thing I’ve seen that’s big enough.”
The next invention is one that could well come in handy for many more of us out there than the two previously mentioned, especially those of us who experience freezing temperatures during the winter. It is a form of defrosting windscreens that promises to remove all ice within seconds, rather than minutes, of starting the car.
The design works by passing heat from the engine through a heat convertor, which then heats washer fluid in seconds. The windscreen wipers are turned on and the hot washer fluid sprays out of nozzles positioned all along the wipers in a constant stream onto the icy glass.
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Jere Lansinger, the 74 year old engineer who invented this product, claims that “this is so much more effective in clearing the windshield, because a traditional system needs to warm up 30-40 pounds of windshield glass before it can get to the outside ice.”
Already Lansinger’s invention has been bought by TSM Corporation and is being developed as the product QuikTherm, to be tested ate several US automotive parts manufacturers.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com