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New CO2 Harvester Could Help Scrub the Air

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the plantlife-now-obsolete dept.

Earth 368

sciencehabit sends this excerpt from ScienceNOW: "Researchers in California have produced a cheap plastic capable of removing large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air. Down the road, the new material could enable the development of large-scale batteries and even form the basis of 'artificial trees' that lower atmospheric concentrations of CO2 in an effort to stave off catastrophic climate change."

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368 comments

Massive farms of artificial trees... (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655638)

From TFA:

The polymer could be useful for building massive farms of artificial trees that would aim to reduce atmospheric concentrations of CO2 and prevent the worst ravages of climate change. But that's only if countries around the globe are willing to spend untold billions of dollars to rein in atmospheric CO2.

It also says:

So you have to expend a fairly large amount of energy heating the media to 85C/185F to get it to give up the CO2, (then more energy to store the CO2).
How long it takes to saturate the polymer is not mentioned, but unless its months between regeneration, the CO2 generated while collecting the polymer media, transporting it to a facility, HEATING it, capturing the recovered CO2, could exceed the amount it could capture. And then you are still left with the CO2 you captured. What to do with that?

So the original purpose of this polymer, to keep C02 out of batteries seems to be a far better use for the polymer than environmental CO2 sequestration.

While far from perfect, farming real trees seems a less energy intensive method [wikipedia.org] especially when treated as a crop, harvested at the optimal time, with the wood used for long duration storage.

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655658)

Ooops...

It also says:

Once saturated with CO2, the PEI-silica combo is easy to regenerate. The CO2 floats away after the polymer is heated to 85C.

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (5, Insightful)

plopez (54068) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655742)

*CO2 floats away*

To where? Still what hasn't been accounted for is the amount of energy required to produce the polymer. It's probably a petroleum based polymer which requires oil extraction, shipping, processing in a refinery and/or chemical plant, and manufacture. I want to see mass and energy balances. The softer approach of planting trees is probably still the best approach when compared to energy intense Engineering approaches. Trees also have the advantage of binding up water vapour, which is a green house gas much more powerful than CO2.

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38656006)

*CO2 floats away*

To where?

Narnia.

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38656330)

It floats out to sea yo, too.

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38656404)

It means the CO2 can be extracted from the absorber (PEI) by heating the material (after saturate it with CO2) up to 85c. This is not that much energy to extract the CO2 out as compared to other CO2 absorbers.

But I still agree that trees would be the best way to deal with CO2. The article said that his original idea of trapping CO2 is to combine it with Hydrogen to produce methanol fuel (as below quoted).

"he (Olah) suggests that society could harvest atmospheric CO2 and combine it with hydrogen stripped from water to generate a methanol fuel for myriad uses."

The problem with this is that how much does it cost to "strip" hydrogen from water and "generate" the methanol fuel with the capture CO2? Also, what other "wastes" produced by the process? No detail on it... This is just something for those who like to get fames for a short period of time...

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (1)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655678)

Im guessing we could also figure a way to pull the the carbon from the mix and reburn it ?

It may be trivial when done on a large scale, anything recapturing this carbon is a major plus.

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38655762)

Sorry mate, entropy. Having gained energy by combining Carbon with air, you must put in energy to get your carbon back. All you end up with is a huge/complicated/inefficient battery. AS there are already large amounts of carbon lying around natrually (coal) , it probably isn't worth it.

How are you going to power that? (2)

bigtrike (904535) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655810)

Extracting the carbon out of CO2 is going to require more energy than you'll ever be able to get from burning the products. You don't want to use fossil fuels to power that or else you're going to end up with a net increase in CO2 emissions.

Re:How are you going to power that? (3, Interesting)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655960)

Nothing chemically easy to break the bond ? Kind of sucks but oh well, what do we do with it once collected ? feed it to real tree's ? At that point why not just plant real tree's ?

Re:How are you going to power that? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38656178)

Just FYI: An apostrophe doesn't always mean Look out! An "S" is on the way!

Re:How are you going to power that? (5, Interesting)

Inda (580031) | more than 2 years ago | (#38656000)

Plants manage the job fine with sunlight and water.

This is the future. Trees turned into biomass wood pellets. It's cheaper to convert coal power stations to biomass than to build new ones.

The cycle is nearly complete.

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38656410)

I wonder if you could use solar heat to release the carbon. Don't some solar arrays generate heat as a way to turn water into steam. That sounds like it would be hot enough to do the job. Even if it does take more energy than is stored in the carbon it would probably still be more efficient than any form of solar energy we have.

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (3, Insightful)

tysonedwards (969693) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655756)

Yesterday, wasn't the general consensus from the scientific community that we were 1500 years off from the next ice age, and that the current concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere would result in pushing that off for at least another 1000 years?

We as a species should just decide on whether we want to live in the tropics or the arctic. This constant back and forth is getting tiring.

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (4, Interesting)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655940)

We as a species should just decide on whether we want to live in the tropics or the arctic.

Or instead of playing god, why don't we try to limit our effect on the environment and let it decide for itself?

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38656100)

Is it also "playing god" when we deploy heroic efforts to save a baby's life instead of letting it decide for itself?

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38656164)

i bet most people think they are acting for god on that one. no need to play him, just point to your bible and hope no one notices you don't follow a single thing it says.

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38656166)

Why is that better?

If you apply that EXACT argument to disease research (don't play god, just let nature work it out), we'd still be dying from Smallpox.

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (2, Interesting)

Medievalist (16032) | more than 2 years ago | (#38656438)

If you apply that EXACT argument to disease research (don't play god, just let nature work it out), we'd still be dying from Smallpox.

Well, isn't that the official Republican position on healthcare?

I'm kidding, OK, kidding. Back away from the flamethrower.

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38656394)

Or instead of playing god, why don't we try to limit our effect on the environment and let it decide for itself?

No thankyou, that's why I live in a house, and take antibiotics when I need them. Nature is fine, but if we can manipulate it for the better, it is a good thing.

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38656400)

Fuck off hippy.

No, seriously. You want to live in a cave... help yourself. I'd like to continue living like a 21st century human connected to the rest of the world with high-speed networks - AND a washing machine, a car and a sat nav... thanks.

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (0)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655968)

I often wonder where people who deny pollution is having any effect on the earth think they are going to live if they are wrong.

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (5, Insightful)

overshoot (39700) | more than 2 years ago | (#38656058)

I often wonder where people who deny pollution is having any effect on the earth think they are going to live if they are wrong.

Well, some of them aren't real good with the concept of "I could be wrong."

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38656068)

I often wonder where people who deny pollution is having any effect on the earth think they are going to live if they are wrong.

On their yacht?

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (1)

tysonedwards (969693) | more than 2 years ago | (#38656110)

The question "Do you believe in Global Warming?" has done more to hurt the scientific community than any other reports, claims of tampering with data, and email correspondence.

Global Warming is now officially and forever bundled with Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, ...

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38656140)

I often wonder where people who deny pollution is having any effect on the earth think they are going to live if they are wrong.

Probably figure they'll live right next door to the "terr'ists behind every tree stump so we must molest all Americans" FUD farmers. They should get along famously, similar outlook of controlling the populace thru terror, etc.

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#38656266)

I often wonder where people who deny pollution is having any effect on the earth think they are going to live if they are wrong.

That's easy. Mars. All they have to do is keep doing what they're doing, but on a different planet, and eventually it will be warm enough. :-)

Heck, for that matter, if we could just come up with a way to efficiently sequester the CO2....

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 2 years ago | (#38656414)

I often wonder where people who deny pollution is having any effect on the earth think they are going to live if they are wrong.

They won't. By the time the effects show up in force, they'll be dead and buried from some other cause.

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (4, Informative)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | more than 2 years ago | (#38656090)

No. Yesterday there was an article about one small group of scientists who claim that the next ice age should begin in 1500 years based on the frequency of ice ages in past history. One group's predictions hardly qualifies as "general consensus from the scientific community."

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (2)

Helix_Sky (1151027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38656214)

Yesterday, wasn't the general consensus from the scientific community that we were 1500 years off from the next ice age, and that the current concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere would result in pushing that off for at least another 1000 years?

Well then there is that whole ocean acidification thing. Rising temperatures aren't the only effect of climate change. There is no free lunch here.

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (3, Interesting)

MiniMike (234881) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655950)

From TFA:

It also says:

So you have to expend a fairly large amount of energy heating the media to 85C/185F to get it to give up the CO2, (then more energy to store the CO2).
How long it takes to saturate the polymer is not mentioned, but unless its months between regeneration, the CO2 generated while collecting the polymer media, transporting it to a facility, HEATING it, capturing the recovered CO2, could exceed the amount it could capture. And then you are still left with the CO2 you captured. What to do with that?

So the original purpose of this polymer, to keep C02 out of batteries seems to be a far better use for the polymer than environmental CO2 sequestration.

While far from perfect, farming real trees seems a less energy intensive method [wikipedia.org] especially when treated as a crop, harvested at the optimal time, with the wood used for long duration storage.

With a requirement of only 85 C, they could easily be heated using low-grade waste heat from a process plant, or using a solar concentrator or similar. No additional energy expenditure required. It would also probably be done locally, so there would be little to no transport cost. There will still be some cost to recover and contain it, but it should still be an overall reduction of CO2. There are multiple uses for the CO2, that should not be a problem.

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655996)

Missing it entirely: One gram adsorbs 1.72 billionths of a mole of CO2. So a billion grams will absorb 1.72 moles of CO2. IIRC a billion grams is 1000kg, or one tonne. To absorb 75.68 grams (1.72 moles) of CO2. Yeah, that will work.

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38656008)

Eh no, a billion grams is a million kg - or 1000 tonnes. Even better.

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 2 years ago | (#38656230)

You have to put it into rational terms though.

1 cubic foot of air weighs 0.0807 lbs. CO2 makes up about 0.039% of our atmosphere, so roughly 0.00315 lbs/qubic foot. 1 gram is about 0.0022 lbs.

Assuming your calculations are accurate. 1000 metric tons would be able to completely remove ALL of the CO2 in a cubic foot of atmosphere.

I am curious as to what the rate on that number is. But I think it's safe to say that in non-arid areas and places with out grey water issues, planting actual trees and grasses is a better option.

In the super dence areas, I could see this being used as a vertical solution where native plant life would be unsustainable. But I wouldn't count on it any time soon.

Time to water the spider plant.

-Rick

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (2)

pz (113803) | more than 2 years ago | (#38656066)

Wait, wait... so if we take the wood and turn it into charcoal by outgassing, compress the charcoal, and then store it in underground caverns, maybe, oh, I don't know, um, old coal mines, the cycle will be complete!

Kidding aside, it sounds like a good idea and, with some effort, could be part of a long-term shift in energy source from coal to processed wood, which is probably a good thing, especially if the outgassing products are trapped and used for raw materials.

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38656094)

The problem with that then is access to water to grow the trees and how viable will it be to "sequester" logs somewhere in some form vs turning them into wood products (e.g., toilet paper, diaper absorbant...), using it as a biofuel (converting it to wood coke or charcoal) or, the holy grail for some, cellulose-based ethanol...

Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38656238)

>each gram of the material sopped up an average of 1.72 nanomoles of CO2

1 mole of gas at standard temperature/pressure (STP) is 22.4 liters. So that's 1 gram to capture 1.72 x 10^-9 x 22.4L = 0.000000038528 liters.
So to remove a 1 liter of CO2, you'll need 25955kg of this stuff!!

I think we can be a lot more efficient to keep CO2 in an empty coke bottle unpressurized.

STP = 0C and about 1 atmoshpere.

oh noes! (4, Funny)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655642)

But Global Warming was going to prevent the impending ice age [slashdot.org]!

Re:oh noes! (2)

Defenestrar (1773808) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655734)

Think of the polar bears and ski resorts you insensitive clod! :)

Re:oh noes! (1)

xmousex (661995) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655862)

in michigan and i haven't shoveled my drive way yet this year whoooo!

the grass is getting kinda long though.

Re:oh noes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38656026)

Indeed. It might be time to bust out the lawn mower just for kicks to say I had to mow my lawn in January in Michigan.

Massive Climate Change (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38655660)

Stop volcanoes first... they pollute more than Humans...

Frayed Knot (5, Informative)

overshoot (39700) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655748)

Sorry, but that idea only flies on Fox News. Actually, human activities cause 135 times as much CO2 emissions as volcanoes do. [discovery.com]

Re:Frayed Knot (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38655812)

Meh. They can't even figure out if the sun is a factor in climate yet.

Re:Frayed Knot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38655876)

Prove that, or admit that it's a lie.

Re:Frayed Knot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38656014)

We proved your mom was a pole smoking whore.

It only took 30 seconds.

Meh.

Filth.

Re:Frayed Knot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38656124)

From the first result on Google:

http://www-das.uwyo.edu/~geerts/cwx/notes/chap02/sunspots.html

"[D]irect satellite measurements of irradiance have shown ... more sunspots deliver more energy to the atmosphere, so that global temperatures should rise."

"Lane et al (3) constructed a profile of atmospheric climate "forcing" due to combined changes in solar irradiance and emissions of greenhouse gases between 1880 and 1993... Their results also suggest that the sensitivity of climate to the effects of solar irradiance is about 27% higher than its sensitivity to forcing by greenhouse gases."

"3 Lane, L.J., M.H. Nichols, and H.B. Osborn 1994: Time series analyses of global change data. Environ. Pollut., 83, 63-68."

So they do know, they can measure and, though it is strong, it does not make CO2 emissions irrelevant.

Re:Frayed Knot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38656376)

"should, isn't, is"

Remember "correlation != causation" After all, on /. the MEP with a distinct lack of sunspot is believed to have been the main cause of the cooling period, but is quickly dismissed by the AGW crowd. So, which is it?

Re:Frayed Knot (2)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38656356)

Who is they? I'm pretty sure everyone in the scientific community is in complete agreement that the sun is a major factor in climate. The climate without the sun would be dramatically different.

Re:Frayed Knot (1, Flamebait)

will_die (586523) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655974)

Maybe you should start watching Fox News and get over your hate and ignorance. The original poster said pollution, not CO2 emissions, volcanic pollution contains more than just CO2.

Re:Frayed Knot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38656316)

Ahh yes, who here doesn't remember the Great Used Tire Eruption of Krakatoa. Truly horrific.

Re:Frayed Knot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38656102)

Because CO2 is the worst and only greenhouse gas from a volcano.

Re:Frayed Knot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38656212)

This string walks into a bar. Asks for drink. Barkeep says we don't serve strings. String goes to parking lot. Ties self in knot. Messes up hair. Goes back into bar. Bar tender suspiciously asks if he's that same string. String says, "no sir, I'm a frayed knot".

And once we have a few gigatonnes of CO2 (5, Funny)

overshoot (39700) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655706)

We can launch it into space. OK, maybe not.

How about we bury it at Yucca Mountain? Dissolve it in seawater?

I HAVE IT! We separate the carbon and the oxygen, release the O2 into the atmosphere, and bury the carbon in abandoned coal mines!

Re:And once we have a few gigatonnes of CO2 (2, Insightful)

plopez (54068) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655774)

Or make diamonds from it :)

(c)2012, Thud457 (2)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655946)

Maybe some aliens will come by and trade us some magic beans that grow an orbital beanstalk.
Win-win all around.

Unless giants are real, too.

Re:And once we have a few gigatonnes of CO2 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38655844)

lets add it to the water supply so that my dream can finally be realized; fizzy tap water!

Re:And once we have a few gigatonnes of CO2 (2)

mjr167 (2477430) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655846)

We can capture the CO2 and feed it to trees via an elaborate contrivance. We could then chop down the trees to make pretty things.

Re:And once we have a few gigatonnes of CO2 (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 2 years ago | (#38656428)

Something like that would actually be quite nice.

1. CO2
2. ...
3. Pretty things!

Re:And once we have a few gigatonnes of CO2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38655902)

Flag on the moon. How did it get there? Push a button. Things happen.

A scientist becomes a beast.

Re:And once we have a few gigatonnes of CO2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38655964)

funniest comment ever.

We produce 29 billion tons per year of CO2 (5, Insightful)

PeterM from Berkeley (15510) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655816)

And we're going to catch a significant fraction of it in plastic that we have to manufacture? Seriously?

How about we use something self-replicating instead, which does the same thing and produces useful by-products, like, say, trees?

--PM

Re:We produce 29 billion tons per year of CO2 (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655854)

Lol, you can be the first to give up your house to the new reforestation act then. I think rather than trying to reduce the carbon, how about we stop producing it? Somewhere between nuclear power & electric cars fueled off that power.

Re:We produce 29 billion tons per year of CO2 (1)

PeterM from Berkeley (15510) | more than 2 years ago | (#38656248)

I have planted no less than 16 trees on my property in the 7 years I've lived there. I would plant more if only my wife and city regulations would let me (I'm banned from planting mulberry due to pollen concerns, for example.) No need to give up my house in order to have some reforestation!

I'm in favor of reducing carbon output by producing electricity with nuclear or other non-carbon-releasing options.

--PM

Re:We produce 29 billion tons per year of CO2 (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#38656326)

No need to remove houses. We have plenty of land to grow trees. What we don't have is enough fresh water. Enter desalinization plants. Add a bunch of them near the U.S. coast, and pump metric craptons of fresh water into the grasslands and deserts in the middle of the U.S. Take advantage of the now-arable land to grow forests.

So the only problems remaining are electrical power, money, and time.

Re:We produce 29 billion tons per year of CO2 (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 2 years ago | (#38656346)

Dude, saying we should plant more trees doesn't mean we have to demolish people's houses to plant trees. There's a lot of land out there.

Dunno what you'd call me (4, Insightful)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655818)

I don't think of myself as an environmentalist or anything like that. I'm all for better energy efficiency and cleaner forms of energy, but something like this strikes me as rather dumb. You have to spend energy making these things, and then energy running them, not to mention time and money all to remove a bit of CO2 out of the air. Wouldn't it make more sense to plant more trees instead, and spend the rest of your time and money on cleaner and more efficient methods of powering well everything?

I don't deny that climate change is happening, it's always been happening and I believe that we have some impact on the way it changes, so being as responsible as we can with what we do with 'waste' like CO2 or other byproducts is always important, but things like this in the modern "green" movement just make me shake my head in disbelief.

Re:Dunno what you'd call me (3, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38656162)

But how do you patent a tree and retire a millionaire after the IPO?

Re:Dunno what you'd call me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38656284)

Controllable effect. Not all places are suitable for trees. The efficiency may improve.

Really not a big deal, not like anybody is planning on building them.

Re:Dunno what you'd call me (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38656456)

Considering, I would call you "reasonable."

Sadly, reasonable people don't get much credence these days... perhaps it's because we don't scream loudly enough to be heard over the reactionary imbeciles?

Will somebody think of the plant children (4, Funny)

jader3rd (2222716) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655834)

Great, now once we remove all of the CO2 out of the air, what will the plants breath?

Catastrophic Climate Change? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38655850)

What is catastrophic climate change? Have we identified anything that will be catastrophic or an inconvenience? Or have we forgot to be adaptable?

idiocy (0)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655866)

removing a gas essential to all life on earth is quite foolish, when in fact we don't even know what percentage of the greenhouse effect is due to CO2. The best scientific estimates range from 9 to 32 percent. All we do know for sure is the dominant greenhouse gas on earth is water vapor.

Re:idiocy (2)

jackbird (721605) | more than 2 years ago | (#38656406)

But the atmosphere is basically saturated with water, and its greenhouse contribution (something on the order of 20C IIRC) is part of the baseline climate with or without humans. In other words water vapor's contribution to climate change is zero, since the amount hasn't (can't have) risen or decreased meaningfully since the dawn of civilization.

Artificial trees, great... (2)

Fusselwurm (1033286) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655868)

...could we just plant regular ones? If even that is too much of a problem for most countries, we should maybe forget about expensive artificial stuff. Yes, expensive, regardless of what TFA says, because there's nothing cheaper than a real tree.

lol (1)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655872)

Wonderful. The researchers developed a plastic to capture CO2. I dunno, kind of sounds like this isn't green at all. Develop tons of plastic... to fix a problem, nope.

Climate change is one thing (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655874)

I welcome this kind of innovations very much.
But to be honest I think at the moment our biggest problem is our global energy consumption.
I can do without my computer for a week if we're low on fuel, but food...

unintended consequences (0)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655914)

Might this instead just produce CO2 depletion zones, dangerous to plant life (and all that depends on plant life)? In any case, I would not trust any agenda-funded model of the "climatologists", the generate thousands of models and then cherry pick certain ones to fit what the weather is doing (not science, they are book cookers).

Re:unintended consequences (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38656080)

Usually these kinds of articles are nothing but pro/anti greenhouse trolling. Nice to see some rational skepticism.

Considering how much of human technology has been based on burning things, I would expect some degree of net change in temperature readings. I'm more concerned about nations devastating their wilderness (not simply farming, but leaving barren and lifeless, like North Korea). In history, Easter Island's residents did that as they made monuments to their glory, then faced with starvation either paddled away or died off, with the survivors a little more careful about using up their forests.

Brilliant! (5, Funny)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 2 years ago | (#38655920)

I was going to just plant some trees, but covering my property in plastic seems like a much better idea!

Re:Brilliant! (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#38656216)

I was going to just plant some trees, but covering my property in plastic seems like a much better idea!

If the plastic was green and tree shaped, then everybody wins!

And a Study from Stanford says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38655922)

it's very expensive! http://news.stanford.edu/news/2011/december/extracting-carbon-air-120911.html

Think of the trees! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38655980)

But think of the trees. How many trees will be starved to death over this!

More, more, more! (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | more than 2 years ago | (#38656010)

Now we'll need to run our SUV's to produce more CO2 to satisfy the need for the raw materials...

Doesn't seem practical but... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38656018)

...probably a good way to score some government funding, at least on the short term. I suspect it's a lot easier to get funding for something new and shiny and technical than to just plant more trees.

This could cause ELE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38656050)

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/ja0771639

rebreathers,carbonating drinks,fire protection ... (0)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38656122)

Obviously the marketing is enviroloonie and useless from an engineering perspective, because to store say, a barrel of crude oil worth of carbon, you need to use more than a barrel worth of crude as a raw material, refine the heck out of it using oil, burn refined diesel oil to ship it around, burn lots of refined gasoline for the factory workers to get to work to make the stuff, blah blah blah. The military analogy of this environmental plan would be the classic Vietnam era "we had to destroy the village to save the village".

Aside from that lunacy, I wonder what non-energy purposes this could be applied to. Could I make a scuba rebreather out of this stuff inside a stainless steel canister that can be reused by boiling it in water for 10 minutes or whatever? That is cool, and convenient.

I wonder if it is stable / biocompatible enough to be used in some kind of weird self carbonating drink, like instant carbonated hot coffee or something? Maybe using two cans, one boiling, and one in ice, I could carbonate drinks while camping or something weird like that.

Also if it outputs CO2 when really hot, could I make, say, childrens bedclothes out of it? In the olden days it was cool to invent kids clothes that would self extinguish when removed from a flame (you know, like the house is burning down?) but kids clothes made out of this would actually act to extinguish the fire... interesting. Obviously you don't want to output enough CO2 to suffocate the kid, but enough to put out a smouldering ember would be convenient. Or make mattresses out of this plastic for those stinky smokers who get drunk, smoke in bed, and incinerate themselves, well if the mattress gave off just enough CO2 as it burned to put the cigarette out... Now its humane and decent to save kids from fire but in sharp contrast saving adults from smoking in bed fires so they can die of lung cancer is probably immoral acting against Darwin and all that. Maybe just making chemistry lab fire blankets out of this CO2 emitting plastic would be a good idea?

Does it output enough CO2 so that lit on fire it could inflate a life jacket instead of traditional pressurized cylinders? Or does it spew out enough CO2 to make a "fire extinguisher grenade"? Could I mandate lithium battery powered laptops/phones be made of this plastic so when they explode into fire, once the lithium fire goes out, the CO2 prevented the surroundings from catching fire?

Re:rebreathers,carbonating drinks,fire protection (1)

jackbird (721605) | more than 2 years ago | (#38656420)

I always throw a bucket of sleeping children on my kitchen fires.

too late, give up already (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38656194)

We are past the tipping point. Forward thinkers need to begin focusing on survival and recovery from catastrophe, not avoidance.

Re:too late, give up already (-1, Flamebait)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38656286)

We are past the tipping point. Forward thinkers need to begin focusing on survival and recovery from catastrophe, not avoidance.

There never was a balancing point to begin with. Where I am sitting now in the past was the bottom of the ocean (we sell some legendary good limestone and marbles from numerous local quarries) and has much more recently been underneath about a mile or two of ice.

The biggest swindle was selling "we must prepare for climate change that was caused by (induce guilt)" What we really need is "we must prepare for climate change". Period. No disclaimer guilt trip or weasel words. Because no matter what indignity we inflict on each other, the climate is going to change, just as it always has.

Use This Plastic For 3D Printers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38656210)

And hopefully the billions of tons of plastic waste that we're all going to generate when 3D printers hit the consumer market will go toward reducing greenhouse gasses.

Trousers the wrong 'way around (1)

Okian Warrior (537106) | more than 2 years ago | (#38656242)

Everyone has this idea that the "obvious" solution to our carbon/energy/global warming problems is to reduce consumption. I'm especially amused by authors who try to "guilt" the US into reducing consumption in order to let other cultures have a "fair share" at dwindling resources.

This is poppycock, and it's the wrong solution.

The reason the US has such a high consumption is that people *like* this level of consumption and there should be nothing wrong with that.

The solution is not for us to go back to the stone age, but to arrange things so that everyone can have this level of consumption and not have to worry about it.

What will this entail? Some way to continually produce fossil fuels sufficient for our transportation needs, some way to produce electricity for our home needs, some way to produce food for our nutrition needs, and some way to produce biochemical resources sufficient for our manufacturing needs.

This is, of course, unsustainable without recycling, but we also have to include gas (as in atmospheric gas) recycling as well as solid recycling. That probably means harvesting CO2 from the atmosphere and using it as a resource along with recycled waste from physical items.

This discovery could be one step towards that solution. Imaging a solar reflector dish with a core of CO2 capturing material. In a sunny environment (Arizona, Utah, Nevada) this system could capture CO2 at night (low temperatures) and release it during the day when the temperature rises. Other than moving the gases this would be largely automated and require no moving parts.

What to do with the CO2: How about using it to flood a greenhouse to promote plant growth?

I'm not saying that there's a simple and easy solution which fixes all our problems, but it's obvious what the fix should look like, and this discovery is just one more baby-step towards that goal.

Even if we have no present use for the captured CO2, it's an exciting development that puts us directly closer to solving our most pressing issues.

Regeneration systems (5, Interesting)

domatic (1128127) | more than 2 years ago | (#38656304)

The thought of giant CO2 scrubbing plastic trees seems like hyperbole to me. Seems we could plant real trees that work about as well for that. But an obvious application jumped out at me. Undersea vehicles, labs, manned spacecraft, and any other artificially maintained environment that humans have to work in need to remove CO2 because it can be poisonous in sufficiently high concentrations even if there is enough to breathe.

So would this material make good scrubbers for sealed environments people have to work in? If there is a way to vent the waste gases, being able to drive the CO2 off with a bit of heat and using again seems a great feature too.

Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38656338)

This is ridiculous, why try to beat nature? It has billions of years of experience, just plant trees.

No such thing as 'man made Global Warming' though. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38656418)

... so why is anybody concerned about CO2?

www.climatedepot.com

Bring on the Slashdot sheep...

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