As news breaks that global carbon dioxide levels are at an all-time high, one scientist is developing “artificial trees” to help cleanse the air and reduce greenhouse gas pollution. Columbia University’s Klaus Lackner has developed a carbon dioxide capturing material that acts as a powerful sponge – and it’s able to soak up CO2 faster than plants!

Lackner’s experiment resembles a miniature indoor greenhouse, with bamboo, cucumber, basil and house plants thriving inside. Hooked into the greenhouse with the plants is Lackner’s plastic resin-based material, which looks more like a shag carpet than a carbon dioxide siphon. The strands of plastic on the “carpet” act like mini CO2 magnets, and they bind to the greenhouse gas to form bicarbonate sale.

With the aid of a fan, the plastic resin works even harder, pulling 700 kilograms of CO2 from the air. High-powered machines made from Lackner’s plastic resin could make a real difference – ten million “artificial trees” could drop atmospheric concentrations by 0.5 ppm per year, which over time would help reduce the ever climbing greenhouse gas problem.

+ Columbia University

Via Scientific American