December 6 2020: India-born US based aerospace engineer and long-time Georgia Tech professor Dr. Narayanan Menon Komerath has been awarded a patent for his invention, "Glitter Belt”, by the United States Patent Office.
Born in Thrissur Kerala, Dr Menon studied at IIT Madras obtaining a BTech in AeronauticalEngineering in 1978. He then went to the Georgia Institute of Technology where he obtained a PhD in Aerospace Engineering (Turbulent Combustion) in 1982. He retired on 1 January 2020 after 41 years at Georgia Institute of Technology, the last 25 as Professor in the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering.
His invention offers a novel way to reduce global warming. “Glitter Belt” is a method to deploy and operate an array of ultralight reflective sheets using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles 100,000 feet above the earth. Flying 24-7 for an indefinite period far above winds and clouds, the sheets reflect sunlight back into space at full intensity. "Glitter Belt" is named for how they appear from space.
Glitter Belt’s "Flying Leaf" UAVs generate aerodynamic lift from the sheets, reducing night-time altitude loss compared to previous solar-powered aircraft. In the Patent’s Summer Follower scheme, Flying Leaves steadily move north or south to stay with the peak summer Sun. This maximizes effectiveness while ensuring that the longest night is only 12 hours, crossing the equator during the spring and fall equinoxes. The Leaves can be launched from and recovered at an open field at slow speeds.
Even at the extreme size needed to reverse “global warming” into “global cooling” at the same current rate (roughly 3 watts per square meter of the earth's surface area, per the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change), the cost will be moderate for the benefit achieved. Komerath says it just needs national and international will to help rid the earth of global warming. A U.S.-led global partnership can distribute production, with launch and control facilities across the world.
U.S. patent number 10,775,586 [Application Number 16/140,161] was granted by the patent office on 2020-09-15 for glitter belt: atmospheric reflectors to reduce solar irradiance. The grantee listed for this patent is Narayanan Menon Komerath. Invention is credited to Narayanan Menon Komerath.