The graceful grandeur of zeppelins are a sight to behold. That they’ve vanished from our skies for almost half a century has only added to their mystique.
Zeppelins have since made a burgeoning comeback, fueled further by inventive designs for the next generation of airships. The Tino Schaedler and Michael Brown designed StratoCruiser, previously featured here is one example. Another is the Aeroscraft ML866, covered last week by dezeen. A far cry from the cigar shape of Graf Zeppelin’s airships that came off the line in Friedrichshafen during and preceeding World War I.
Recent articles on curbing global warming note the potential of carbon dioxide scrubbers, though estimates indicate practical large scale implementation is still a decade away. This reminded me of a curious zeppelin-esque design that caught my attention several years ago in the Taschen book, Green Architecture. The Ozone-maker, designed by architect Jeffrey Miles.
“In his extensively researched Ozone-maker, what appears at first glance to be a fantasy out of Star Wars is a brilliantly conceived wind-cleaning series of satellites that repair the ozone layer by removing chlorofluorocarbons and simultaneously excreting beneficial clean air collected from the atmosphere. With a length of 433 meters, a width of 170 meters, and a speed of 5 kilometers per hour, the horseshoe-crab-shaped Ozone-maker circles the earth at 16 kilometers altitude. Miles’ project is based on the premise that harmful CFC’s from fossil fuel emissions are destroying the ozone layer and threatening life on earth by potentially changing the climate and disrupting the global food chain. Since CFC’s remain airborne for more than a century, with catastrophic implications, his green machine concept is designed to help re-establish a balanced atmosphere.
Operated by a crew of twelve “bionauts,” the hydrogen-fueled machine is helium-inflated and moves primarily by means of wind power, using sails reminiscent of an 18th-century clipper ship. Supplies are brought aboard from dirigible stations and balloons. Its main service is based on removing CFC’s from the ozone layer. The floating factory uses chemoautotropic bacteria to seed the atmosphere with alkanes (chemically removing chlorine as hydrogen chloride). The resulting by-products are collected and oxidized to provide material for extra buoyancy and life-support subsystems.”