Ozone is a type of oxygen found in the stratosphere, approximately 12-50 kilometers above the earth. The highest concentration of this substance is at a distance of approximately 23 kilometers from the surface. Ozone was discovered in 1873 by the German scientist Schönbein. Subsequently, this modification of oxygen was found in the surface and upper layers of the atmosphere. In general, ozone consists of triatomic oxygen molecules. Under normal conditions, it is a blue gas with a characteristic odor. Under various factors, ozone turns into an indigo-colored liquid. When it becomes solid, it takes on a dark blue hue.
The value of the ozone layer lies in the fact that it acts as a kind of filter, absorbs a certain amount of ultraviolet rays. It protects the biosphere and people from direct solar radiation.
Causes of ozone depletion
For many centuries, people did not suspect the existence of ozone, but their activity adversely affected the state of the atmosphere. At the moment, scientists are talking about such a problem as ozone holes. Depletion of oxygen modification occurs for a variety of reasons:
Major depleters of the ozone layer
The biggest enemies of the oxygen modification layer are hydrogen compounds and chlorine. This is due to the decomposition of freons, which are used as atomizers. At a certain temperature, they are able to boil and increase in volume, which is important for the manufacture of various aerosols. Quite often, freons are used for freezing equipment, refrigerators and cooling units. When freons rise into the air, chlorine is split off under atmospheric conditions, which in turn converts ozone into oxygen.
The problem of ozone depletion was discovered long ago, but by the 1980s, scientists sounded the alarm. If ozone is significantly reduced in the atmosphere, the earth will lose its normal temperature regime and stop cooling. As a result, a huge number of documents and agreements were signed in various countries in order to reduce the production of freons. In addition, a replacement for freon was invented propane-butane. According to its technical parameters, this substance has high performance, it can be used where freons are used.
Today, the problem of ozone depletion is very relevant. Despite this, the use of technologies with the use of freons continues. At the moment, people are thinking about how to reduce the amount of freon emissions, are looking for substitutes to save and restore the ozone layer.
Since 1985, measures have been taken to protect the ozone layer. The first step was the introduction of restrictions on the emission of freons. Further, the government approved the Vienna Convention, the provisions of which were aimed at protecting the ozone layer and consisted of the following points:
Over the past decades, protocols have been signed, according to which the production of fluorochlorocarbons should be reduced, and in some cases completely stopped.
The most problematic was the use of ozone-friendly products in the production of refrigeration equipment. During this period, a real “freon crisis” came. In addition, the developments required significant financial investments, which could not but upset entrepreneurs. Fortunately, a solution was found and manufacturers began to use other substances in aerosols instead of freons (hydrocarbon propellant such as butane or propane). Today, the use of installations capable of using endothermic chemical reactions that absorb heat is common.
It is also possible to purify the atmosphere from the content of freons (according to physicists) with the help of a nuclear power plant, the power of which should be at least 10 GW. This design will serve as an excellent source of energy. After all, it is known that the Sun is capable of producing about 5-6 tons of ozone in just one second. By increasing this figure with the help of power units, it is possible to achieve a balance between the destruction and production of ozone.
Many scientists consider it expedient to create an “ozone factory” that will improve the state of the ozone layer.
In addition to this project, there are many others, including the production of ozone artificially in the stratosphere or the production of ozone in the atmosphere. The main disadvantage of all ideas and proposals is their high cost. Large financial losses push projects into the background and some of them remain unrealized.