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Published: Wednesday 31 July, 2013

outlet online store outlet online store ?Synthetic tree claims to catch carbon in the air

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 coalfired 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, EwingWorzel Professor of Geophysics in the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering at Columbia University.

We aim for applications like gasoline in cars or jet fuel in airplanes. We are going after CO2 that otherwise is nearly impossible to collect, he told CNN. Department of Energy. Energy Secretary Steven Chu last month at a threeday symposium on climate change in Lond outlet online store on.

He was there and I was there and he showed interest, Lackner told CNN. Thats exciting, but I dont particularly want to discuss this in a public forum because I think this gives me a little bit of an opportunity to tailor my proposals to the Department of Energy in a way that makes them more palatable.

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.

The synthetic tree looks more like a public convenience block than a hitech method of reducing carbon emissions, but Lackner told CNN it is highly efficient for its size when compared, for example, to a modern powergenerating wind turbine.

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.

Is the synthetic tree an interesting alternative, or a scientific flight of fancy thats unlikely to happen? Sound Off below.

Lackner told CNN that initial concerns over the cost of the technology were focused on the frontend carbon collector, including the sorbent used to catch the carbon dioxide in the air.

But after years of research, Lackner told CNN he and his colleagues have developed a sorbent that is close to the ideal, in that it uses a relatively small amount of energy to release the CO2 and is not prohibitively expensive. which produces one mole of CO2 with every 230 kilojoules of electricity.

In other words, if we s outlet online store imply plugged our device in to the power grid to satisfy its energy needs, for every roughly 1000 kilograms of carbon dioxide we collected we would reemit 200, so 800 we can chalk up as having been successful, he said.

Lackner told CNN the biggest cost was at the backend of the collector, primarily the technology used to release the CO2 from the sorbent.

He said for that reason, on a costbasis, the synthetic tree could not compete with modern coalfired power plants that are designed to release fewer carbon emissions than their older predecessors. But he said when compared to the cost of retrofitting an existing coal plant, the synthetic tree becomes more viable.

The bottom line is we have in this way the ability to deal with the problem at a cost which is somewhat higher than on a coalfired power plant retrofit, but not much higher.

Besides, he said, the technology is not being developed as an alternative to the carbon capture and storage methods currently being tested for largescale use on coalfired power stations. Hes targeting carbon thats already in the air.

The concept of the synethic tree has caught the imagination of one of the first scientists to warn the world about global warming, Lackners colleague at Columbia University, Newberry Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Professor Wally Broecker.

Im extremely excited about this. I think this is som outlet online store ething that the worlds going to have to have, unfortunately, Broecker told CNN from Madrid where he received a BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award for his work on the issue of climate change.

Broecker told CNN most people still dont recognize the magnitude of the task the world faces in reducing global carbon emissions, and it was likely that one day urgent action would need to be taken, above and beyond the current measures being discussed.

Were probably not going to stop CO2 rising until its double what it was near1800 and maybe even more than that, he said. I think we will find that the planet is too warm, ice is melting too fast. and well want to bring the CO2 back down again. The only way we can do that on a short timescale would be to pull it back out of the atmosphere.

Broecker told CNN the units could stand in the middle of Australia, for example, and their presence wouldnt significantly disrupt the atmospheric distribution. outlet online store