Latest Invention: Synthetic Tree to Collect Huge Amounts of CO2
The latest invention of researchers from Columbia University is an
artificial tree that is able to capture carbon dioxide a thousand times
faster that a real tree. The lead researcher and a professor of
geophysics at Columbia University, Klaus Lackner, has been developing
the project for over 10 years and holds hope that the artificial tree
will be a very important tool for tackling climate change.
Scientists will use their latest invention to trap greenhouse gas
emitted by vehicles or airplanes. The synthetic tree, which resembles a
cylinder, will not require direct sunlight, water of branches to work
properly. According to Lackner, the tree is flexible in size and can be
placed almost anywhere.
Here's how it works: the synthetic tree gathers the greenhouse gas on a
sorbent, cleans and pressures the carbon dioxide and then releases it.
The technique of gas absorption resembles that of a sponge that collects
During a whole day one artificial tree will be able to collect one ton
of CO2, which equals to the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by 20 cars.
The technology is currently in the development stage at Global Research
Technologies, a company based in Tucson, Arizona, co-founded by
Lackner, who at the moment is its chairman. Such invention might serve
well for the environment by it is quite costly - each synthetic tree
requires $30,000 to make, reports CNN.
Data presented by the U.S. Department of Transportation shows that
currently in the United States there are about 135,932,930 vehicles,
which means that in order to absorb the amount of carbon emitted by
these cars, the country would need to "plant" 6.8 million synthetic
trees (that's $204 billion). With the current global economic crisis the
project will probably remain in the development stage for some time.
Still, Lackner and his team look forward to push their latest invention
full-force. The researcher managed to arrange a meeting with U.S. Energy
Secretary Steven Chu to talk about the concept.