Technology

Hope for Los Angeles, A City That Needs It

By Fred GuterlJan 1, 1997 12:00 AM

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Melvin Prueitt of Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico received patents last January for an air purifying tower for large smog- filled cities. At the top of the 650-foot tower, which would be made of metal beams covered with a fiberglass shell, a spray of fine, electrostatically charged mist would humidify the air. It would make the air cooler and cause it to sink, thus creating a downdraft that would suck more air into the tower. Since pollutants would cling to the charged droplets, they would be washed away when the mist condenses at the bottom of the tower. Clean air, humidified by the remaining water vapor, would waft out of the bottom. Prueitt figures that a mere 190 towers could scrub the smog out of a city like Los Angeles without inflicting noticeable aesthetic damage to the skyline.

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