Technology Can Remove One Ton of CO2 Per Day
For years environmentalists have been advocating a reduction in the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) entering the environment. CO2 is a known greenhouse gas, which, upon entering the atmosphere, contributes to global climate change. Reducing a person or a company's carbon footprint often involves limiting the reliance of fossil fuels, which are a big contributer to CO2 emissions.
The information that hasn't been made widely available just yet is that there is a group of scientists who are creating a device which is poised to remove the equivalent of one ton of atmospheric CO2, including old CO2 that has been in the atmosphere for a while. While this does not negate the importance of limiting the amount of new CO2 being pumped in the air, it stands to be an economical and efficient way of vacuuming up harmful greenhouse gases.
Its inventors, a team of U.S. scientists led by Columbia University's Klaus Lackner, say they'll be able to get a prototype up and running within the next two years. The device will also be small enough to fit in a shipping container and could cost as little as $200,000, which they say will shortly pay for itself with the amount of CO2 it scrubs out of the air.
According to The Nature Conservancy, the average person in the United States produces 27 tons of CO2 per year, making a device that can scrub out one ton per day a benefit to the ongoing green cause.
How It Works
Air containing dissolved CO2 passes over an ion exchange resin. The CO2 sticks to the resin and clean air continues through the device. The ion exchange is then washed with humid air, which dislodges the collected CO2. The CO2 can be buried or used in other ways. The scientists working on the scrubber already have ideas for the usage of collected CO2, including making it a part of algae production to be used in natural fertilizers, or using the CO2 in greenhouses to further plant growth.