Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Why bother with natural trees when you can construct a forest of mechanical trees to remove CO2 from the air?
How do we solve a problem like climate change? With innovations like Mechanical Trees
Opinion: With the right investments, Arizona could be the home of a flourishing carbon dioxide removal sector. Mechanical Trees are a good start.
Jan 1, 2021
Researchers like myself in Arizona and across the United States are advancing carbon dioxide removal, a diverse suite of innovative strategies with support growing among industry leaders, across the business sector and in Congress. Much of the recent focus in the media has been on natural techniques, such as planting trees.
These solutions are necessary, but not sufficient.
To truly change the game and solve for climate change, we will also need technological solutions, such as direct air capture (DAC) machines that pull excess carbon dioxide out of the air.
I am proud of the work on such innovation taking place at Arizona State University. At ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, we’re exploring how we can efficiently and economically have the wind deliver carbon dioxide to Mechanical Trees. Envision a forest of these trees removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere – several times more efficiently than real trees – which then can be stored deep underground or used in products from cements to fresh, carbon-neutral fuels.
More breakthrough innovation requires more funding. The federal government is best positioned to do that and make the United States a leader in developing and deploying this climate-saving technology.
Klaus Lackner is director of the Center for Negative Carbon Emissions and a professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at Arizona State University. Reach him at Klaus.Lackner@asu.edu.Read more: https://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/2021/01/01/mechanical-trees-innovative-way-address-climate-change/4027597001/
Mechanical trees may be one of the less damaging climate ideas. At least they probably won’t mass cremate wildlife like California’s solar collectors or strike endangered eagles out of the air like wind turbines. A forest of mechanical trees might even have some minor value as a robotic art installation.