GOOD

Meet the Mega-Structure That Sucks CO2 Emissions Out of Thin Air

It looks like a wall, acts like a tree, and could someday make our air much more breathable.

image via carbon engineering / youtube screen capture

Unchecked carbon emissions are some of the worst culprits when it comes to damaging our planet’s fragile ecosystem. Unfortunately, carbon emissions are also something of an unavoidable fact of life in our highly-mechanized, industrial-driven world. Of course, great strides have been made in regulating and reducing the overall amount of CO2 released into our atmosphere, but we have yet to bring about the sort of holistic sea change necessary to fully reverse the decades of harmful impact carbon has had on our environment. That could change, though, with the introduction of new carbon-capturing technology able to suck CO2 out of thin air, on a massive, industrial scale.


Canadian start-up Carbon Engineering has created what it claims is a modular series of carbon capture filters which can extract ambient carbon out of the air, separate it from its accompanying oxygen molecules, purify and distill it, and perhaps someday even re-sell the newly reclaimed carbon as fuel.

The video above is from 2012, and while since that time no carbon-extracting mega-walls have been erected, Carbon Engineering has made serious headway on an equally impressive engineering feat: A carbon extracting “demo” plant, located in Squamish, British Colombia. Although neither modular, nor boundlessly deployable, as the company’s proposed capture filter system is, the demo plant is designed to demonstrate the technology’s large-scale viability, and pave the way for a subsequent commercial plant.

These plants have the added significance of not only testing the feasibility of the technology involved, but hopefully assigning a price-tag on the process, as well. That’s significant, because as a 2013 New York Times profile on Carbon Engineering points out, no one has quite figured out how much carbon-capture-from-air will ultimately cost—something researchers will finally be able to test once a carbon extraction plant is up and running.

Even if the company’s concept for the giant wall of carbon extractors does eventually make it off the ground, it’s unlikely that it alone will be able to solve all our carbon-based problems. Instead, it would need to operate in conjunction with existing and forthcoming advances in low-carbon output, emissions legislation, and the overall trend toward relying more and more on renewable energy from the sun, wind, and water. Still, while carbon extraction may not be an end-all-be-all solution, it represents an important and often overlooked element of the environmental energy conversation: One based not only on developing cleaner forms of power, but on cleaning up after the less eco-friendly forms we have right now.

[via popular mechanics]

Articles
via Honor Africans / Twitter

The problem with American Sign Language (ASL) is that over 500,000 people in the U.S. use it, but the country has over 330 million people.

So for those with hearing loss, the chances of coming into contact with someone who uses the language are rare. Especially outside of the deaf community.

Keep Reading Show less

Looking back, the year 1995 seems like such an innocent time. America was in the midst of its longest streak of peace and prosperity. September 11, 2001 was six years away, and the internet didn't seem like much more than a passing fad.

Twenty-four years ago, 18 million U.S. homes had modem-equipped computers, 7 million more than the year before. Most logged in through America Online where they got their email or communicated with random strangers in chat rooms.

According to a Pew Research study that year, only 32% of those who go online say they would miss it "a lot" if no longer available.

Imagine what those poll numbers would look like if the question was asked today.

RELATED: Bill and Melinda Gates had a surprising answer when asked about a 70 percent tax on the wealthiest Americans

"Few see online activities as essential to them, and no single online feature, with the exception of E-Mail, is used with any regularity," the Pew article said. "Consumers have yet to begin purchasing goods and services online, and there is little indication that online news features are changing traditional news consumption patterns."

"Late Night" host David Letterman had Microsoft founder and, at that time the richest man in the world, on his show for an interview in '95 to discuss the "the big new thing."

During the interview Letterman chided Gates about the usefulness of the new technology, comparing it to radio and tape recorders.

Gates seems excited by the internet because it will soon allow people to listen to a baseball game on their computer. To which Letterman smugly replies, "Does radio ring a bell?" to laughter from the crowd.

But Gates presses Letterman saying that the new technology allows you to listen to the game "whenever you want," to which Letterman responds, "Do tape recorders ring a bell?"

Gates then tells Letterman he can keep up with the latest in his favorite hobbies such as cigar smoking or race cars through the internet. Letterman shuts him down saying that he reads about his interests in magazines.

RELATED: Bill Gates has five books he thinks you should read this summer.

The discussion ends with the two laughing over meeting like-minded people in "troubled loner chat room on the internet."

The clip brings to mind a 1994 segment on "The Today Show" where host Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric have a similar discussion.

"What is internet anyway?" an exasperated Gumball asks. "What do you write to it like mail?"

"It's a computer billboard but it's nationwide and it's several universities all joined together and it's getting bigger and bigger all the time," a producer explains from off-stage.





Culture
Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

The future generations will have to live on this Earth for years to come, and, not surprisingly, they're very concerned about the fate of our planet. We've seen a rise in youth activists, such as Greta Thunberg, who are raising awareness for climate change. A recent survey indicates that those efforts are working, as more and more Americans (especially young Americans) feel concerned about climate change.

A new CBS News poll found that 70% of Americans between 18 and 29 feel climate change is a crisis or a serious problem, while 58% of Americans over the age of 65 share those beliefs. Additionally, younger generations are more likely to feel like it's their personal responsibility to address climate change, as well as think that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is viable. Overall, 25% of Americans feel that climate change is a "crisis," and 35% feel it is a "serious problem." 10% of Americans said they think climate change is a minor problem, and 16% of Americans feel it is not a problem that worries them.

The poll found that concern for the environment isn't a partisan issue – or at least when it comes to younger generations. Two-thirds of Republicans under the age of 45 feel that addressing climate change is their duty, sentiments shared by only 38% of Republicans over the age of 45.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet