Dec 3, 2012
Thanks for the proposal! Can you please include an explanation of how this scheme works, and summarize the pathway by which a) changes in NOx affect the rate of methane oxidation in the atmosphere?; and b) how this affects stratospheric ozone?
Dec 3, 2012
Please refer to the Zhou et al reference given. This includes a detailed chemistry column model result. Their independent project was far more detailed than my work. NOx (i.e. UV driven cycling between NO and NO2) is involved in the production of hydroxyl radical (OH). The hydroxyl sink is the principle methane sink in the atmosphere. Production of NOx can be electrical or chemical. I hope this clarifies my response. Do you need further detail?
May 3, 2013
Given the energy content of methane, it is somewhat surprising that Nature has not found a way to take advantage of it. Well, some organisms have, but only apparently at the bottom of the ocean, presumably because down there all other forms of energy are eve more dilute. I wonder if there might be catalysts that could help in this regard, or if perhaps creating ozone by sparks might promote faster chemical removal? Might bubbling air through dark ocean waters laced with methane-eating organisms be a potential sink? Might shooting lasers through the atmosphere to excite radicals help in removal processes? It just seems there must be another approach than producing NOx given that NOx downstream might just lead to other types of air pollution problems.
May 3, 2013
You could also release halogens. These are water soluble, so would probably get rained out before reaching the ozone layer in significant volumes. Ozone is in dynamic equilibrium in the atmosphere - it has a limited life, and the energy from sunlight sustains levels. The energy required to create and maintain ozone intentionally would likely be prohibitive, although I haven't run the numbers. Methane is quickly metabolised in oxygenated water and soils by methanotrophs. Atmospheric methane is taken up by soils, but as there is very little in the way of free-floating biomass in the atmosphere, most of the methane which is released into the atmosphere ends up oxidized by the radical sink, not by being oxidized in soils.
Jul 10, 2013
Thank you for sharing your ideas and for the work invested to create this proposal. Your proposal has been considered carefully by the judges, and while the proposal has interesting ideas, and we appreciate the response to questions that were raised, it is unclear if it would work as intended. For example, the cited reference states: “The results imply a risk of toxic ozone accumulating on the earth surface when shortening methane lifetime by releasing NOx to the atmosphere. The cooling caused by reducing CH4 and warming by producing O3 may be equal in magnitude.”