To scrub climate-warming CO2 from the atmosphere, researchers in the U.K. are developing artificial trees that could make cap-and-trade systems more efficient.
What researchers are calling artificial trees, actually towers filled with various materials that adsorb carbon dioxide from the air, could play a major role in reducing climate change -- if they prove profitable.
"This is an industry still in its infancy," said Billy Gridley of Global Research Technologies, LLC, the company creating the C02-scrubbing towers. "This will eventually rival the size of today's energy markets."
GRT's artificial tree is based on an environmentally friendly resin, originally developed by Klaus Lackner, a professor at Columbia University in New York. The alkaline resin reacts with acidic carbon dioxide, holding it in place. After one hour exposed to the air, the resin is completely saturated with CO2.
Dry resin soaks up the CO2. Adding water releases the CO2, which is then captured and stored. Drying the resin again restores its abilities, a cycle that can be repeated indefinitely.