Fake trees pull CO2 from thin air

ION Exchange Resin Membrane
USA (Arizona)

When the man who coined the term ‘global warming’ describes the scientist trying to reduce carbon dioxide levels as “the most brilliant person I’ve ever dealt with,” you know the future is in good hands. And that is exactly how Wally Broecker, the Grandfather of Climate Science, refers to Klaus Lackner, the physicist-turned-carbon catcher working on demonstrating and improving methods to scrub the harmful greenhouse gas from the air.

Absorb. Rinse. Collect. And repeat. Lackner’s Ionic Exchange Resin Membrane works as a moisture swing, passively absorbing CO2 when left outside dry and releasing it when wet. As this works as real leaves do, he is developing artificial trees from a material that will eat 1,000 times more gas per unit of biomass than a single tree: “The goal is to take a process that takes 100,000 years and compress it into 30 minutes.” Brilliant indeed.

Watch the carbon capture tech in action:

Written by

Lisa Goldapple, Editor, Atlas of the Future (14 January 2016)

Project leader

Klaus Lackner, Director, Center for Negative Carbon Emissions

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