Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Artificial Trees

PostedMarch 4, 2007

Download File (mp3)

Randy Atkins:  Real trees can’t keep up with the carbon dioxide we spew into the atmosphere.  So Klaus Lackner, of Columbia University, is engineering plans for structures coated with materials that absorb it.

Klaus Lackner:  In collecting CO2, they are much, much more efficient.

Randy Atkins:  The CO2 would be concentrated, then disposed of underground, in the ocean floor, or in minerals.  Lackner admits…

Klaus Lackner:  The process of collecting carbon dioxide and the process of disposing carbon dioxide will consume additional energy.

Randy Atkins:  But he says his “trees,” while cleaning up after cars and planes, can also be engineered to capture their own pollution.

Klaus Lackner:  It’s the only technology I can think of which, in the end, would allow us to reduce the CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

Randy Atkins:  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP Radio.