Synthetic Tree

Seen something interesting in the news or on the intertubes? Discuss it here.

Moderators: Zamfir, Hawknc, Moderators General, Prelates

The Reaper
Posts: 4008
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 5:37 am UTC
Location: San Antonio, Tx
Contact:

Synthetic Tree

Postby The Reaper » Thu Jul 09, 2009 8:36 pm UTC

http://www.physorg.com/news166374180.html
Scientists have designed a synthetic tree that traps carbon dioxide from the air in an attempt to combat growing emissions. The device looks less like a tree and more like a small building, but it can collect carbon about 1,000 times faster than a real tree. One synthetic tree could absorb one ton of carbon dioxide per day, an amount equivalent to that produced by about 20 cars, on average. After being trapped in a chamber, the carbon would be compressed and stored in liquid form for sequestration.

Professor Klaus Lackner of Columbia University has been working on the concept since 1998, and recently met with U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu to discuss moving forward with the project. Through his company Global Research Technologies, based in Tucson, Lackner has built an early model and hopes to have a fully working prototype within three years.

As Lackner explains, the technology is similar to that used at coal plants to capture carbon from flue stacks, but can be used anywhere. Lackner notes that half of carbon emissions come from small sources, including cars and airplanes, and is usually nearly impossible to collect. But since the carbon dioxide in the air is actually very concentrated, the device required to collect it can be fairly small.

Lackner's goal is to make the synthetic tree highly efficient for its size. Compared to the amount of carbon dioxide that a large windmill can avoid generating, for example, a synthetic tree of equal size could collect several hundred times the amount of carbon dioxide that the windmill avoids.

Each synthetic tree would cost about $30,000 to build, with most of the cost due to the technology used to release the carbon dioxide from the sorbent. In addition, since the device requires energy to operate, it also generates some carbon itself if plugged into the power grid. Lackner calculated that, for every 1000 kg of carbon dioxide the synthetic tree collects, it emits 200 kg, so that 800 kg are considered true collection.
800kg a day is still nothing to sniff at. Ideally we could put these together with solar or nuclear power and wreck all kinds of havoc with nature.

Heisenberg
Posts: 3789
Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 8:48 pm UTC
Location: Uncertain

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Jul 09, 2009 8:51 pm UTC

Not only will its energy consumption release carbon dioxide, but its construction will as well. Mixing concrete, driving big machines, etc. Then, when we decide to bury liquified CO2 in Nevada, we'll put it on a truck and burn diesel all the way out there.

Or, you could plant a real tree and save yourself $29,999.

The Reaper
Posts: 4008
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 5:37 am UTC
Location: San Antonio, Tx
Contact:

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby The Reaper » Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:04 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:Not only will its energy consumption release carbon dioxide, but its construction will as well. Mixing concrete, driving big machines, etc. Then, when we decide to bury liquified CO2 in Nevada, we'll put it on a truck and burn diesel all the way out there.

Or, you could plant a real tree and save yourself $29,999.

It seems like it would be feasible to turn the liquid CO2 and water into fuel. Also, if each little building is 1000 trees, I think it's got you trumped on land usage. You can put these in major cities on top of buildings that you can't fit 1000 trees on.

User avatar
Aikanaro
Posts: 1801
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 1:43 pm UTC
Location: Saint Louis, MO

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby Aikanaro » Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:08 pm UTC

Sorry to sidetrack the discussion slightly, but that brings up a point I've always wondered about: Why don't we find barren land, and just plant Kudzu, and/or other "weeds" that just grow like crazy? "Trees" aren't the only plants to eliminate CO2, ya know. Also, why not let vines run rampant up buildings in cities? Barring cases where it would actually cause noticeable deterioration, of course.....
Dear xkcd,

On behalf of my religion, I'm sorry so many of us do dumb shit. Please forgive us.

Love, Aikanaro.

The Reaper
Posts: 4008
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 5:37 am UTC
Location: San Antonio, Tx
Contact:

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby The Reaper » Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:12 pm UTC

Aikanaro wrote:Sorry to sidetrack the discussion slightly, but that brings up a point I've always wondered about: Why don't we find barren land, and just plant Kudzu, and/or other "weeds" that just grow like crazy? "Trees" aren't the only plants to eliminate CO2, ya know. Also, why not let vines run rampant up buildings in cities? Barring cases where it would actually cause noticeable deterioration, of course.....

Alot of vines cause deterioration. Hemp sequesters carbon just fine, and can be used to make a type of drywall?, however letting plants grow in abandoned lots increases fire hazards in areas.

Heisenberg
Posts: 3789
Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 8:48 pm UTC
Location: Uncertain

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:18 pm UTC

The Reaper wrote:It seems like it would be feasible to turn the liquid CO2 and water into fuel.

Well, you could. But due to entropy, you would lose energy in the process. So... after you clean up the byproducts of oil-burning, you could burn 10 more gallons of oil to create 5 gallons of oil from the CO2. Which you would then burn for energy?
The Reaper wrote:Also, if each little building is 1000 trees, I think it's got you trumped on land usage. You can put these in major cities on top of buildings that you can't fit 1000 trees on.

Sure, but this is a global issue, right? Does it matter if we scrub the air in Montana instead of NYC?
Aikanaro wrote:Why don't we find barren land, and just plant Kudzu, and/or other "weeds" that just grow like crazy?

From what I understand, there used to be more CO2, then grasses took over the Earth, and made lots of oxygen. Interestingly enough, we're doing our best to keep grass under 2 inches, and to replace it with asphalt.

apeman5291
Posts: 634
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2007 12:19 am UTC
Location: Columbia, SC, USA
Contact:

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby apeman5291 » Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:31 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
The Reaper wrote:Also, if each little building is 1000 trees, I think it's got you trumped on land usage. You can put these in major cities on top of buildings that you can't fit 1000 trees on.

Sure, but this is a global issue, right? Does it matter if we scrub the air in Montana instead of NYC?

I guess on average you'd be right, but there's a reason the air is worse in Mexico City, New York, or Los Angeles than Montana: air doesn't actually mix that quickly. If you put these filters close to the source of CO2, it will have more impact.
What you don't understand, you can make mean anything.

User avatar
philsov
Not a fan of Diane Kruger
Posts: 1350
Joined: Sat Sep 20, 2008 7:58 pm UTC
Location: Texas

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby philsov » Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:34 pm UTC

Does it matter if we scrub the air in Montana instead of NYC?


Barring local air quality and public health, no.

Not only will its energy consumption release carbon dioxide, but its construction will as well. Mixing concrete, driving big machines, etc. Then, when we decide to bury liquified CO2 in Nevada, we'll put it on a truck and burn diesel all the way out there.

Or, you could plant a real tree and save yourself $29,999.


And I suppose there's no transport/production/creation opportunity cost with medium/large scale tree-planting, right? :roll:
The time and seasons go on, but all the rhymes and reasons are wrong
I know I'll discover after its all said and done I should've been a nun.

User avatar
SummerGlauFan
Posts: 1746
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:27 pm UTC
Location: KS

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby SummerGlauFan » Thu Jul 09, 2009 10:24 pm UTC

I heard about these new solar-powered CO2 filters. They come pre-packaged in a really small container, but once installed, they begin moving towards their full size. They are self-repairing, need little maintenance, and can even be used to construct more of themselves. The only resource that you might have to supply them with is water, but in many areas naturally occurring water is sufficient. Many can be used to provide nice little habitats and nesting sites for birds and other animals.

They are called trees. They also come in smaller versions, such as shrubs and grass, for the space-challenged. Some models have decorative flowers as well.
glasnt wrote:"As she raised her rifle against the creature, her hair fluttered beneath the red florescent lighting of the locked down building.

I knew from that moment that she was something special"


Outbreak, a tale of love and zombies.

In stores now.

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18686
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Jul 09, 2009 10:28 pm UTC

Planting new growth forest would probably be cheaper then this method too. The issue with just letting vines grow rampant is that their life cycles are so transient; so while they may grow quickly and sequester a reasonable amount of CO2/kg plant matter, they'll decompose in a year and release the majority of that CO2 back into the atmosphere. No mention of the fact that invasive species are laughably expensive for the US to deal with annually.

Although I think it is a good idea to cheaply concentrate CO2, which is used in many industries. For example, Tissue Culture is done under controlled CO2 environments, and the CO2 we purchase comes from gas companies that quite literally produce it (as in, they do not harvest it from the by product of combustion reactions). If only to set up CO2 collection for resale, I think this synthetic tree is grand, but given it's cost, scope, and the fact that it requires electricity, I'm not convinced it will solve our climate issues.
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

The Reaper
Posts: 4008
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 5:37 am UTC
Location: San Antonio, Tx
Contact:

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby The Reaper » Thu Jul 09, 2009 10:48 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
The Reaper wrote:It seems like it would be feasible to turn the liquid CO2 and water into fuel.

Well, you could. But due to entropy, you would lose energy in the process. So... after you clean up the byproducts of oil-burning, you could burn 10 more gallons of oil to create 5 gallons of oil from the CO2. Which you would then burn for energy?

I'd like to point out that not all of this magical energy construct you keep whining about comes from the devils black blood and whatnot. :\ Sunlight, wind, tides, nukes, things like that.

But yea, the reason I say big cities instead of bumfuck Montana is because if we have both 1000 thousand tree forests AND 1000 hats on top of buildings being used to capture CO2, then we're better off than just the 1000 trees.. I dare say the 1000 hats on top of buildings would take quite a bit less room, for that matter.

Theres also the little bit about we won't suddenly be cast into 10000000 years of burning hell, temperaturewise, just because of a plant virus.

Now, if they could actually make the building hat shaped, I would be entertained...

User avatar
Shivahn
Posts: 2200
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 6:17 am UTC

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby Shivahn » Thu Jul 09, 2009 11:12 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Planting new growth forest would probably be cheaper then this method too. The issue with just letting vines grow rampant is that their life cycles are so transient; so while they may grow quickly and sequester a reasonable amount of CO2/kg plant matter, they'll decompose in a year and release the majority of that CO2 back into the atmosphere. No mention of the fact that invasive species are laughably expensive for the US to deal with annually.


I'm pretty sure that's only if it's burned. If it's decomposed naturally, a lot will get locked into whatever eats it. Or else I fail at understanding carbon cycles.

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18686
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Jul 09, 2009 11:19 pm UTC

When bacteria and fungi consume dead wood (i.e., causing it to decompose), it releases stored carbon back into the air as CO2. Forests produce CO2 as well, and decaying, fallen trees, are like giant coal plants chugging out CO2. Obviously not as much as if you flash burned it.
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

User avatar
Oort
Posts: 522
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2006 10:18 pm UTC

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby Oort » Fri Jul 10, 2009 12:48 am UTC

What will they do with the carbon though? Can't just accumulate 800 kg of it per day.

Walter.Horvath
Posts: 933
Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 11:33 pm UTC
Location: Orlando, FL

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby Walter.Horvath » Fri Jul 10, 2009 2:00 am UTC

This sort of scientific breakthrough challenges the future of earth. We must stop this before we thicken ozone any further. This. Is. Global Cooling!

User avatar
Hooch
Posts: 233
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 2:00 am UTC
Location: Round Rock, Texas
Contact:

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby Hooch » Fri Jul 10, 2009 2:18 am UTC

Oort wrote:What will they do with the carbon though? Can't just accumulate 800 kg of it per day.


That's a good point. The Reaper brought up the possibility of using the liquid CO2 as a fuel, but I don't know how effective it'd be. Then again, I'm not nearly as adept in chemistry as other xkcd members are.

SummerGlauFan wrote:I heard about these new solar-powered CO2 filters. They come pre-packaged in a really small container, but once installed, they begin moving towards their full size. They are self-repairing, need little maintenance, and can even be used to construct more of themselves. The only resource that you might have to supply them with is water, but in many areas naturally occurring water is sufficient. Many can be used to provide nice little habitats and nesting sites for birds and other animals.

They are called trees. They also come in smaller versions, such as shrubs and grass, for the space-challenged. Some models have decorative flowers as well.


Both "trees" are somewhat of a lose-lose situation. The downside of real trees is that they take time to grow and take up a lot of fucking space if you try to grow multiple. This new device seems to be able to do the work that 1000 trees can do (with the exception of releasing some CO2 as a by-product), but unless we make some giant leaps in technology, every single one that's built will take up around $30K, and our money isn't completely inexhaustible.

In my opinion, the synthetic tree takes the cake, although a small piece of it. Despite costing money, it does take up less space, seems to do a hell of a lot more than what a real tree can, liquid carbon on the ground sounds better than carbon in the air, and if Izawwlgood is right, dead trees can still churn out some of the CO2 that they gobbled up.

You guys have every right to prove me wrong on those last two reasons.
LOVE ME
djntd.bandcamp.com
youtube.com/user/DJNTDOfficial

User avatar
SummerGlauFan
Posts: 1746
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:27 pm UTC
Location: KS

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby SummerGlauFan » Fri Jul 10, 2009 2:44 am UTC

Alternatively, we could take the money and brainpower spent on these fake trees and use it to generate power using non-CO2 producing methods, like, oh, I don't know, maybe nuclear, solar, wind, etc? Then we can have our lifestyle and a natural world that isn't choking on our fumes.

Also, individually, a natural tree is far, far, far more cost-effective. Especially if it is young; young trees absorb more CO2 because they are growing more rapidly.
glasnt wrote:"As she raised her rifle against the creature, her hair fluttered beneath the red florescent lighting of the locked down building.

I knew from that moment that she was something special"


Outbreak, a tale of love and zombies.

In stores now.

Walter.Horvath
Posts: 933
Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 11:33 pm UTC
Location: Orlando, FL

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby Walter.Horvath » Fri Jul 10, 2009 2:47 am UTC

SummerGlauFan wrote:Alternatively, we could take the money and brainpower spent on these fake trees and use it to generate power using non-CO2 producing methods, like, oh, I don't know, maybe nuclear, solar, wind, etc? Then we can have our lifestyle and a natural world that isn't choking on our fumes.

Also, individually, a natural tree is far, far, far more cost-effective. Especially if it is young; young trees absorb more CO2 because they are growing more rapidly.

Yeah, but then you have to feed people who plant those trees, and chances are some sort of machinery is involved there. Not perfectly CO2 free. Rejected.

[But really, this is much easier and more cost effective.]

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18686
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Jul 10, 2009 2:54 am UTC

It's important to think of ways to sequester CO2, because we are clearly outputting it faster then it is naturally absorbed by the Earth's processes, be they biotic or abiotic. What is also important to realize is that this isn't a solution, but a step towards one. These are likely very good for cities. They are likely completely pointless in rural remote areas.

Sequestering the CO2 is just one part of the issue, as brought up, another issue is where to store it. CO2 has a nasty habit of turning into a gas at room temp and surface pressure, so put it to use. I know I've linked this before. But beyond turning it to methane, look deeper. Converting CO2 to ethylene funds the entirety of the plastics industry. CO2 is used in all kinds of chemical reactions. Plants require CO2 (greenhouses could be uber-optimized)

Other less intelligent idea's include jump dumping it to the bottom of the ocean, where it'll stay liquid as long as the water remains cool (not necessarily a given).

It's just another cool way to do something we need done.
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

The Reaper
Posts: 4008
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 5:37 am UTC
Location: San Antonio, Tx
Contact:

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby The Reaper » Fri Jul 10, 2009 4:43 am UTC


User avatar
Gelsamel
Lame and emo
Posts: 8237
Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2006 10:49 am UTC
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby Gelsamel » Fri Jul 10, 2009 4:26 pm UTC

How much power and thus CO_2 emissions is it going to take to store CO_2 in liquid form from compression? :-/
"Give up here?"
- > No
"Do you accept defeat?"
- > No
"Do you think games are silly little things?"
- > No
"Is it all pointless?"
- > No
"Do you admit there is no meaning to this world?"
- > No

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18686
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Jul 10, 2009 4:33 pm UTC

I'm assuming that the sequestered 800 lbs of CO2 (that's net, i.e., including the emission to run the machine) results in 800 lbs of compressed CO2. If not, compressing CO2 isn't terribly energy costly.
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

User avatar
Crius
Posts: 392
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 7:27 pm UTC

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby Crius » Fri Jul 10, 2009 6:32 pm UTC

Some fun with wikipedia and math:

World CO2 generation: 27,245,758,000 metric tons annually (74,645,912 metric tons daily)1
World electricity production from coal, gas, and oil: 12.9 TW2
Overnight cost to build a nuclear plant: $1984 per kW3 (cheapest estimate, others are much higher)
Average install cost for wind power: $1812 per kW4 (€1300 converted to USD)

Total cost to replace all coal, gas, and oil power with nuclear power: $25.6 trillion
Total cost to replace all coal, gas, and oil power with wind power: $23.4 trillion
Total cost to suck up all the CO2 generated by humans with synthetic trees: $2.8 trillion

Of course, that's just the grossly oversimplfied construction costs, and doesn't take into account fuel, maintenance, or CO2 storage. Anyone want to double-check my math?

Heisenberg
Posts: 3789
Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 8:48 pm UTC
Location: Uncertain

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby Heisenberg » Fri Jul 10, 2009 6:38 pm UTC

Wind farms, while awesome1, are huge and vary in power output by location. Nuclear plants are small (for their relative power output) and work anywhere. I'd imagine that after you fill all the cheap land with reliable strong wind, nuclear becomes more cost-effective. There's also the maintenance issue. One massive machine is easier to maintain than 7,000 smaller ones.

1. I saw a turbine blade on the highway the other day. It was the size of two double-wide mobile homes end-to-end. Verified awesome.

Walter.Horvath
Posts: 933
Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 11:33 pm UTC
Location: Orlando, FL

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby Walter.Horvath » Fri Jul 10, 2009 6:55 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:Wind farms, while awesome1, are huge and vary in power output by location. Nuclear plants are small (for their relative power output) and work anywhere. I'd imagine that after you fill all the cheap land with reliable strong wind, nuclear becomes more cost-effective. There's also the maintenance issue. One massive machine is easier to maintain than 7,000 smaller ones.

1. I saw a turbine blade on the highway the other day. It was the size of two double-wide mobile homes end-to-end. Verified awesome.

Offshore Wind Farms.

User avatar
SummerGlauFan
Posts: 1746
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:27 pm UTC
Location: KS

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby SummerGlauFan » Fri Jul 10, 2009 7:29 pm UTC

Walter.Horvath wrote:
Heisenberg wrote:Wind farms, while awesome1, are huge and vary in power output by location. Nuclear plants are small (for their relative power output) and work anywhere. I'd imagine that after you fill all the cheap land with reliable strong wind, nuclear becomes more cost-effective. There's also the maintenance issue. One massive machine is easier to maintain than 7,000 smaller ones.

1. I saw a turbine blade on the highway the other day. It was the size of two double-wide mobile homes end-to-end. Verified awesome.

Offshore Wind Farms.


Which only apply if you are near to a shore. For someone like me, offshore wind farms are going to do absolutely zero good.
glasnt wrote:"As she raised her rifle against the creature, her hair fluttered beneath the red florescent lighting of the locked down building.

I knew from that moment that she was something special"


Outbreak, a tale of love and zombies.

In stores now.

Walter.Horvath
Posts: 933
Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 11:33 pm UTC
Location: Orlando, FL

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby Walter.Horvath » Fri Jul 10, 2009 7:38 pm UTC

SummerGlauFan wrote:Which only apply if you are near to a shore. For someone like me, offshore wind farms are going to do absolutely zero good.

Great thing about Nikola Tesla/ AC is the grand distance power can travel ;)

User avatar
SummerGlauFan
Posts: 1746
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:27 pm UTC
Location: KS

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby SummerGlauFan » Fri Jul 10, 2009 7:46 pm UTC

Walter.Horvath wrote:
SummerGlauFan wrote:Which only apply if you are near to a shore. For someone like me, offshore wind farms are going to do absolutely zero good.

Great thing about Nikola Tesla/ AC is the grand distance power can travel ;)


Except, the power lost to waste heat and other imperfections in transmission means that anyone a certain distance from the generation site either doesn't get a significant amount of electricity, or has to pay through the nose to get it.
glasnt wrote:"As she raised her rifle against the creature, her hair fluttered beneath the red florescent lighting of the locked down building.

I knew from that moment that she was something special"


Outbreak, a tale of love and zombies.

In stores now.

Walter.Horvath
Posts: 933
Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 11:33 pm UTC
Location: Orlando, FL

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby Walter.Horvath » Fri Jul 10, 2009 7:49 pm UTC

I see what you're saying, but it's just as easy to place wind farms inland in addition to offshore. Might take up more space, but trees and crops can be planted in the immediate area, and it actually helps power generation in turn.

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18686
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Jul 10, 2009 8:08 pm UTC

but not every area in the world is good for wind farms. As in, many areas won't produce much electricity at all via wind farms.
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

User avatar
Vaniver
Posts: 9422
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2006 2:12 am UTC

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby Vaniver » Sat Jul 11, 2009 3:38 am UTC

Walter.Horvath wrote:Great thing about Nikola Tesla/ AC is the grand distance power can travel ;)
I'm pretty sure that once you're dealing with really high currents, DC ends up burning less than AC. [edit]I'm not sure where I heard this, and it might be due to other concerns (peak current would destroy it, but average current wouldn't, etc.).
I mostly post over at LessWrong now.

Avatar from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, owned by Hasbro.

The Reaper
Posts: 4008
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 5:37 am UTC
Location: San Antonio, Tx
Contact:

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby The Reaper » Sat Jul 11, 2009 4:12 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:but not every area in the world is good for wind farms. As in, many areas won't produce much electricity at all via wind farms.

And many areas don't produce trees at all.

MoghLiechty2
Posts: 629
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2009 8:55 pm UTC

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby MoghLiechty2 » Sat Jul 11, 2009 4:20 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:
Walter.Horvath wrote:Great thing about Nikola Tesla/ AC is the grand distance power can travel ;)
I'm pretty sure that once you're dealing with really high currents, DC ends up burning less than AC. [edit]I'm not sure where I heard this, and it might be due to other concerns (peak current would destroy it, but average current wouldn't, etc.).

It can be done (and is), but I believe the general application are for central pathways of the power grid (e.g. from a coal plant to a population center).

An awesome thing this does is makes the long distance transportation of power producing resources (such as coal) obsolete, because it becomes less costly to transport the electricity with HVDC than truck the coal with gasoline engines or move it by train (incidentally, with a coal engine).

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18686
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby Izawwlgood » Sat Jul 11, 2009 5:27 am UTC

The Reaper wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:but not every area in the world is good for wind farms. As in, many areas won't produce much electricity at all via wind farms.

And many areas don't produce trees at all.


My god, if only someone could make something that could suck up CO2 in area's that are heavy emitters! Like... like a synthetic tree!
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

The Reaper
Posts: 4008
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 5:37 am UTC
Location: San Antonio, Tx
Contact:

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby The Reaper » Sat Jul 11, 2009 5:42 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
The Reaper wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:but not every area in the world is good for wind farms. As in, many areas won't produce much electricity at all via wind farms.

And many areas don't produce trees at all.


My god, if only someone could make something that could suck up CO2 in area's that are heavy emitters! Like... like a synthetic tree!

What an insane idea! They'd have to cost billions of dollars?

BUT WAIT!

If you call now, for the LOW LOW price of $30,000, YOU, TOO, can distill 1 ton of CO2 A DAY. That's less than 20,000 GBP!

SUPPLIES ARE LIMITED! Call Now!

User avatar
LuNatic
Posts: 973
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2008 4:21 am UTC
Location: The land of Aus

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby LuNatic » Sat Jul 11, 2009 5:51 am UTC

SummerGlauFan wrote:Alternatively, we could take the money and brainpower spent on these fake trees and use it to generate power using non-CO2 producing methods, like, oh, I don't know, maybe nuclear, solar, wind, etc?


As far as I understand, solar and wind don't generate enough energy, and Oh me yarm NUCLEARR WILL KILL US ALL!!!111!!11!!(eleventy)
Cynical Idealist wrote:
Velict wrote:Good Jehova, there are cheesegraters on the blagotube!

This is, for some reason, one of the funniest things I've read today.

User avatar
Vaniver
Posts: 9422
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2006 2:12 am UTC

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby Vaniver » Sat Jul 11, 2009 4:51 pm UTC

LuNatic wrote:As far as I understand, solar and wind don't generate enough energy, and Oh me yarm NUCLEARR WILL KILL US ALL!!!111!!11!!(eleventy)
The problem with solar and wind is mostly when they generate energy, not how much they generate.
I mostly post over at LessWrong now.

Avatar from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, owned by Hasbro.

Walter.Horvath
Posts: 933
Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 11:33 pm UTC
Location: Orlando, FL

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby Walter.Horvath » Sat Jul 11, 2009 5:10 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
LuNatic wrote:As far as I understand, solar and wind don't generate enough energy, and Oh me yarm NUCLEARR WILL KILL US ALL!!!111!!11!!(eleventy)
The problem with solar and wind is mostly when they generate energy, not how much they generate.

*throws a fit*

Some people just expect power whenever they plug a cord into an outlet. I really want to punch those people... I think we should only have power when the sun shines or the wind blows, so that we can all take a lesson in humility.


Also, rechargeable batteries fix this problem mostly.

User avatar
Vaniver
Posts: 9422
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2006 2:12 am UTC

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby Vaniver » Sun Jul 12, 2009 12:32 am UTC

Walter.Horvath wrote:Also, rechargeable batteries fix this problem mostly.
If by "mostly" you mean "a small fraction of the problem," then yes. Until battery technology becomes one or two orders of magnitude better, we don't have anywhere near the storage capacity we would require for it to be better to use solar/wind and store it than use constant power generation and waste it or use polluting, on-demand power generation.
I mostly post over at LessWrong now.

Avatar from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, owned by Hasbro.

User avatar
Internetmeme
Posts: 1405
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 3:16 pm UTC
Location: South Carolina, USA

Re: Synthetic Tree

Postby Internetmeme » Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:55 pm UTC

But here's the thing on the cost issue:
Wouldn't you expect that as time goes on, that the technology is going to get better? Especially with the tools we have now that we didn't 40 years ago (Think computers [okay, they had those, but not at all as powerful and mobile as ours; a cell-phone is hundreds of times faster than the fastest supercomputer from the 60's], cell-phones, the internet, global communications networks for collaboration [which is already being used for the human genome project], etc...), I'm sure that we could optimize these things so that 1 per city=no human CO2 impact on the environment.

That said, we wouldn't want to take out all of the CO2 out of the environment, because without that we plants, and the food web crumbles without its base, and the world becomes a barren wasteland until the single-celled organisms evolve yet again into complex organisms. What we ideally want to do is to eliminate the human impact on the environment (Although we've pretty much screwed ourselves up in the Southeast region of America with kudzu), while simultaneously allowing humans to live comfortable. People aren't going to want to go back to cave society (Like the neanderthals did for 100,000 years before Homo Sapiens Sapiens, our species, came along), but the masses would definiely go for a simple method to be able to stop worrying.

The major problem I could foresee with this would be placing one of these in a forest; it prevent plant life from flourishing. While it wouldn't take all of the CO2 out of the air, it would greatly reduce the resources that plants have.

In light of all of that, what we should try to do is spend some money to reduce the cost so that the governments of the civilized (read: not 3rd world) world countries could all chip in a small amount (say, 200 billion per country to cover these constructs and labor) and in effect eliminate our impact. Basically, we should have a few of these in each major city and about 1 per X square miles (Where X is the optimal number that we could use to prevent suffocating the autotrophs.
Spoiler:


Return to “News & Articles”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 18 guests