Friday, June 26, 2009

Use 'synthetic trees' to capture carbon?

Above is an artists impression of a possible new high-tech method to capture carbon emissions. Professor Klaus Lackner suggests a 'synthethic tree' as a way of capturing carbon emissions from the air. [Plus, it looks like it could also be used as a bus shelter]. Should we be investing in 'synthetic tree' development? What do people think about this idea? It seems to be a very technocratic solution to climate change. Interesing idea. It sounds like the US Department of Energy may also be 'interested' in the idea.

Here is some more on the idea.

As the wind blows though plastic "leaves," the carbon is trapped in a chamber, compressed and stored as liquid carbon dioxide. The technology is similar to that used to capture carbon from flue stacks at coal-fired power plants, but the difference is that the "synthetic tree" can catch carbon anytime, anywhere.

"Half of your emissions come from small, distributed sources where collection at the site is either impossible or impractical," said Professor Klaus Lackner, Ewing-Worzel Professor of Geophysics in the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering at Columbia University.

Lackner started working on the concept of an ambient carbon catcher in 1998.

"I argued back then and I still argue that the reason this can be done, from a theoretical point of view, is that the CO2 in the air is actually surprisingly concentrated, therefore the device you need to collect CO2 is quite small."

"If you give me one of those big windmills which have those big areas through which the rotor moves -- how much CO2 can I avoid? And if I had an equally sized CO2 collector -- how much CO2 can I collect? It turns out the collector is several hundred times better than the windmill."


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So please, tell us what you think.

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