Saturday, August 29, 2009

Synthetic Tree Could Collect 90,000 Tons of Carbon a Year

There's synthetic oil ... synthetic diamonds ... so why not synthetic trees?

Klaus Lackner, a professor at Columbia University in New York City, is developing a synthetic tree that soaks up carbon dioxide about 1,000 times faster than an actual tree.

The synthetic tree's plastic leaves trap CO2 in a chamber. The CO2 is then liquefied and "could be used to create fuel for jet engines and cars," or to enhance vegetable production. You could get up to 90,000 tons of carbon per year from one of the trees.

Unlike their natural counterparts, synthetic trees don't need sunlight to snare CO2. Also unlike their natural counterparts, each synthetic tree costs about as much as a car (no word on which car). But then, those are not fair comparisons. Synthetic trees don't look anything like their natural counterparts.

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