Future Tech: Giant Carbon Sucking Trees Might Save The World

Future Tech: Giant Carbon Sucking Trees Might Save The World

ByGroovy Green Jun 15, 2007

Standing more than 300 feet tall and 200 feet wide, the potential savior of climate change disaster looks more like a massive fly swatter than a high-tech carbon sequester. Designed by Klaus Lackner, a professor of Geophysics at Columbia University, this “synthetic tree” is designed to capture and store massive amounts of CO2 gas. Nearly 90,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year — roughly the amount emitted annually by 15,000 cars — could be captured by the structure. According to the July issue of Outside Magazine, “the 100-by-200-foot steel rectangles would have surfaces that soak up carbon dioxide — simulating photosynthesis — then exhale the C02 in a concentrated stream that would be stored in underground chambers.”

Pretty interesting idea — but if the structures run off fossil fuels, rather than renewable sources, they might end up having a limited impact. Still, if we follow predictions that the world only has a decade or so before climate change becomes unavoidable, than any idea should be followed through; no matter how bizarre. From a recent MSNBC article,

“Paired with a windmill, the carbon-capture tree would generate about 3 megawatts of power, Lackner calculates, making the operation self-sufficient in energy. ‘The carbon-capture efficiency is better than a [living] tree,’ he says. ‘We can, with such a system, collect a significant fraction of the carbon from the air.’