Creating ozone to replenish the atmosphere
Name: Dan Scheppner and Dante Depalma
Can you create ozone to put into the atmosphere? If not, will you ever be
able to do that?
Ozone is produced naturally close to the ground by the combustion of fossil
fuels like gasoline and coal. It is actually one of the air quality problems
that the elderly and those with pulmonary (lung) problems need to be concerned
about in the summertime when slow moving weather systems often stagnate and
allow for increasing levels of pollutants.
Ozone can indeed be "produced" but the consideration is cost as well as how to
transport and deposit the material at the right areas. Our current thinking
has this topic put on the "back-burner," meaning it is not really considered
an appropriate move right now.
The concern over the ozone holes is that skin cancer occurrences might be
expected to increase due to higher levels of UV light reaching the earth. Our
current thinking is to keep exposure to the UV low by educating the public
regarding limiting exposure to sunlight in terms of time exposed, time of day
exposed, and using sunscreens with materials to block UV light. I do not
think in the near future we will see any real interest in making ozone as this
would be an expensive, difficult proposition which would be hard to implement
and could possibly end up being detrimental to the environment.
Naturally, the centers for disease control monitors levels of skin cancers
etc.; if things worsen greatly, who knows!
ozone in the "ozone layer", between about 10 and 50 km above the surface of
the Earth, is produced naturally by the interaction of diatomic oxygen and
solar UV yielding monatomic oxygen some of which recombines into triatomic
Yes, you can create ozone, no, there is no way to get it where you want it
high up in the atmosphere. Ozone at ground level is a pollution problem - it
is especially bad around photocopying machines. Ozone in the stratosphere is
a shield against ultra-violet radiation.
Click here to return to the Environmental Science
Update: June 2012