I just read a fascinating article. It seems that some scientists want to bring airships back. Yes, Zeppelins. Like the Hindenburg. As in, the one that burned so spectacularly in New Jersey in 1937, killing 36 people.
Your gut reaction may be that that’s an insane proposition, but hold on a second. Have an open mind. Let’s think about this.
First of all, these scientists are not talking about making these vessels for passenger transportation. They are thinking strictly of cargo. Airships could transport cargo across the globe much more quickly and with a great deal less environmental impact than freighters do today. The article spoke mainly of fuel efficiency, and pollution, but it would also reduce ocean noises that have such a negative impact on whales and dolphins.
They are also talking about the fact that these things could be massive, as much as a mile and a half long, which is ten times bigger than the Hindenburg was. This would be possible because we have created much more durable materials to work with than we had a century ago. That’s a lot of cargo space.
Yes, there’s still a concern about hydrogen and its flammability, but scientists have come up with an additive that makes it less flammable. Also, these vessels could be operated remotely, or even robotically, to lessen the risk to humans.
Another delightful side benefit is that the byproduct of hydrogen is pure water, rather than carbon emissions, and that water could very conceivably be released as these airships float over land that is suffering from drought.
I think this is an idea worth pursuing. I hope that the Hindenburg tragedy, as horrible as it was, won’t prevent us from moving forward. Zeppelins operated for 40 years before that disaster. Yes, there were other crashes, but then, there are plane crashes, too.
No matter what the planet decides, I felt great after reading that article, because it reminded me that there are innovators in the world who are actively seeking solutions to our environmental problems. Now is not the time to abandon all hope. We can still do this.