Balloon materials used, like nylon or dacron, withstand great amounts of heat, and a material of this nature that is clear and magnifies heat, could allow UAV water purification and distillation within the balloon envelope, much like a solar still. The solar still relies on sunlight to warm and evaporate the water to be purified. The water vapor condenses, usually on a plastic sheet suspended as an inverted cone. The combination of UVA and heat provides a simple method of disinfection, as well.
Hot water vapor would rise into the air, condensing inside a cone shaped, transparent, tethered balloon. Water vapor, being lighter than air, would help the balloon to remain buoyant, and other means could be used to maintain flight. As water condenses within envelope, it could be extracted through a network of pores and veins running along the envelope. These veins would flow into larger tubes going down to a ground reservoir. Lower pressure created at ground level would create a vacuum, resulting in a method of transport to a ground station.
Solar cells and circuitry could be woven into fabric of balloon in order to create an electromagnetic current for drawing heavy metals and toxins from the air, due to the ionic nature of these toxins. One segment of the balloon could be selected for this activity, so that water would contain waste and sent to a specific waste water reservoir for disposal.
Numerous chemical reactions could take place in a balloon like this. Once global warming is understood more clearly, a balloon could assist in bringing more of a balance in the atmosphere by decreasing amounts of CO2 in the air. Also, with hot water being transported to the ground, it would cool as it moves closer to the ground, which would cause a heat exchange. Along with the solar cells, the heat exchange could be utilized for energy storage and use. This energy could also be utilized by the ground station.
Arid areas, like deserts, could use the purified water for human and animal consumption, and plant irrigation. Industrial plant emissions could be minimized, decreasing the disparity between Industrial Plant energy production and environmental health concerns, by placing balloons over smoke stacks, acting as filters for toxins.
Sustaining this technology would include initial cost of materials, maintenance of system, and water distribution management. Solar cells would need to be replaced, system would need to be maintained regularly, and water distribution would need oversight. This system may be cheaper than most systems, with an ease of use and mobility not shared by other solutions. A low maintenance kit could be created to be utilized by developing countries, farmers, industrial plants, and others.
Thank you for the opportunity to share this idea. May it inspire even more solutions to such environmental issues as the ratio of a lessening supply of clean water and air for an ever increasing population.