We all know that trees are great absorbers of CO2 and the idea of increasing the planting of trees to act as carbon sinks, especially in areas around coal plants and other offenders, has been floated around for a while. But can you make a better tree? A Columbia University professor thinks so. He and his company, Global Research Technologies, have created a synthetic tree that they say captures CO2 1,000 times faster than regular trees and without the need for direct sunlight.
The trees feature plastic leaves that trap the CO2 in a chamber. The gas is then compressed into a liquid and could be used in fuels or fertilizers. The trees collect 1,000 kg of CO2 for every 200 kg it emits and each tree could capture up to 90,000 tons of CO2 per year.
The trees are expensive to produce - about the same as a new car - but their performance could warrant the price. The trees' ability to capture CO2 without the aid of sunlight means they could be used in dark, enclosed places where most trees couldn't survive. They could be used to retrofit coal plants or placed in other areas that are subject to high CO2 emissions to curb the amount reaching the atmosphere.
via Popular Science
written by Fred, June 25, 2009
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