Artificial Trees

Big Data for Better Produce
March 10, 2020
DNA Storage
March 10, 2020

Artificial Trees

CO2 is the undisputed culprit when it comes to climate change. But what if we could just suck it out of the air? Trees do that naturally, but after years of deforestation, we simply do not have enough of them to make a sizable impact. In January 2020, Ireland-based Silicon Kingdom Holdings and scientists at Arizona State University started manufacturing artificial trees that can absorb carbon dioxide. About the size of a poplar tree, the “leaves” are plastic-like discs that absorb CO2 in the air and wind. When filled, the leaves drop down into the “trunk,” a barrel at the base and into pipes that collect the liquid CO2 for resale to beverage companies. Columbia University has a similar project in the works. Another approach is to convert atmospheric CO2 into carbon nanofibers that can be used for consumer and industrial products, including wind turbine blades or airplanes. Chemists at George Washington University are experimenting with what they dub “diamonds from the sky,” so-named because diamonds are made from carbon. The scientists bathe carbon dioxide in molten carbonates at 750 degrees Celsius, then introduce atmospheric air, an electrical current of nickel, and steel electrodes. The carbon dioxide dissolves and carbon nanofibers form on the steel electrode.