Sunday October 22nd 2017

Insider

Archives

Yellow green Electric Pollution

At last a new career: I studied hard and finally received my long awaited MBA! I am in my thirties and a new era of happiness is just waiting for me out there in the almost limitless confines of the Internet.

A brand new marketing plan, another bulletproof business plan, a new online opportunity knocking down my door. I couldn’t wait to start my new adventure as a business entrepreneur.

The idea for my site was simple but unique: we can recycle an entire car, from wheels to steering wheel. The website’s motto is “The car REBORN”. While others were still consumed by traditional and “next generation” car production, our focus was on dismantling and recycling cars one piece at a time, yes, completely.

My project began slowly; just a few curious visitors commenting on my new business model. Aside from the initial enthusiasm, in the long run I began to think I would get little interest and was concerned whether in the future the website might result in total failure.

About myself, I forgot to mention I live in Ireland, and like any good Irish inventor, I try to promote my product using one of the key marketing assets for which the country is famed: this island is green, the “Emerald Isle”. Recycling of automobiles is becoming a big source of income, and there is a lot of water here, which these days is a factor of increasing interest, due to the scarcity of this element in the rest of the planet.

Also, it’s an island, isolated from the rest of mainland Europe, which is a big advantage considering the neutral position of this country when it comes to business.

A successful bleaching and chemical metal paint stripper reseller from LA contacted me, seriously interested in the deal. He wanted me to apply a revolutionary technique to strip paint from any metallic surface, without using methylene chloride. He suggested pyrolytic graphite to do the job instead, but this wasn’t really my field of expertise.

Regardless, a few days later an awful lot of cars began to arrive to Dublin, ready to be recycled in my new online factory. Only a few years later, Ireland had regained the famous Celtic Tiger status of the past, helped by new booming industries like my own. Cars were now being distilled better than the best beer and whiskey!

I was thinking about this story, slipping along the side of a long, silent and yellow-white striped corridor. The grates flew over our heads. Wearing a long, dry shirt and a yellow respirator mask– same colour as the air outside looking through the giant front windows.
“We came here in Dublin to monitor the situation”, screamed the chief inspector arm in arm with the chief executive director, at the head of the queue.

“Dear colleagues, we are now going through the control room. The facility you see through the window now is the heart of our production system”.

Still, I didn’t exactly understand what they were talking about. I was scratching my head trying to pull off that uncomfortable shell of yellow. It was really annoying me, seriously aggravating my nervous system. I couldn’t scratch my butt; of course it would be rude and not very attractive to any onlookers. I turned around and behind me was walking a nervous, tired-looking secretary who took notes on a brown clipboard, on her high quick stepping heels. She did not wear the usual protective suit, like the rest of the green-team. She wore only the mask and the required oxygen cylinder. She was wearing a shirt and brown woollen socks above her tapered legs, the kind that should not be noticeable.

I did not dwell too long, and after a fraction of a second I turned my gaze forward as she raised her head, almost caught by that type of surprise and embarrassment that only a woman knows when she’s wrong, even if she doesn’t know exactly she’s wrong.
“Excuse me” – scratching my mask and trying to fix it as I spoke awkwardly without being able to hear my voice very well – “I’m sorry, I did not mean to stare. My mask is uncomfortable and slows down the movements of my head. I was wondering why you did not wear a white suit like everyone else. Aren’t you afraid of that strange yellow air outside the windows?” I couldn’t finish listening to her answering that a big cargo ship was coming through the pier, not far from the factory.

We arrived in the plant for recycling. It was very noisy, metal pieces clashing and the same yellow smoke everywhere.

“Stay away from that dust, it is better if you don’t come in contact”, said one of the engineers at the head of the queue. It was so strange and dense. And it was crystalizing when in contact with the coat of my suit.
I was turning back, to speak again with the young secretary, but she had disappeared from view.

We passed by a large flat screen, which gladly softened the noise, increasingly becoming unbearable the closer we got to the tower. The engineer second in line told us that a cannon sound was shattering the pyrolytic graphite and the coating in level C of the plant. He was wearing two large ear muffs. We were also equipped with rubber stoppers to protect our ears. Two big machines chopped metal like butter and a giant compressor reduced what was left from the recycling process.

On one side, two steel cables supported some rings that seemed suspended in the air. They were making an even louder racket.

“Look”, I observed to a Chinese colleague standing in front of me, “there’s an electric arc above us absorbing all the yellow dust”. At least, that was my explanation of the yellow dust rising upwards rather than respecting the laws of gravity like the rest of us.

“The electromagnetic field filters that you see over there capture the nano-powders and regenerate the exhausted fumes that the plant produces. The flow field takes the form of those crystals you saw in the air, changing colours and giving the impression of being alive”, I was trying to explain to the engineer, my voice sounding breathless and broken through the microphone mounted in my respirator. The oxygen was running out and the engineer said it was better to return to room A in a hurry.
All lined up neatly, we left field C and headed towards sector A, where we hoped to observe the actuators.
“We have been forced to shut down and close all the plant”, he said, “Could you believe it?” while changing dip switches and pressing buttons on either side of a large command centre. “The situation is unsustainable”.

Leave a Reply