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CO2 scrubber, new and improved.

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The biggest problem with this idea, and similar ideas, Is the lack of light penetration deep into the algae or bacteria. This would force one to have to use a very thin layer of our light dependant organism in order scrub any significant amount of CO2. One is then left with the issue of what to do with the stored CO2, which is also a very big issue.

Why not create a sort of toast stand, which holds up 'algae paper' (looks like big sheets of litmus paper). There would be are hundreds of sheets of paper in a rack. They would stand parallel and be individually rooted in a base. Electronics would then allow the rack to follow the sun (inspired by a sunflower). The base would also adjust as the year progresses.

Paper cant be perfectly in line with sun as we will get a reduces sa in light. Perhaps add mirror at base.

Special care must be taken to ensure that this will not disrupt the food chain and that the algae are indigenous to the area, the algae used are indigenous and protective measures must be taken such as a transparent green house ect.

The correct climate is essential. South Africa would be perfect! Here we have a solid day of sun and the majority of the country is consistently warm throughout the year.

The disposal of our colony can be an issue. Denaturing their enzymes and feeding them to live stock would be one idea, but the food chain created would just pass the carbon back into the atmosphere.

To run your pc, it is likely that, you are burning the carbon stores that were once safely stored under miles of earth. What we need to do is to somehow work out how to this carbon back to a safe place. Why not full quarries with the sheets? It is safer to have the carbon there than in the atmosphere (greenhouse effect causes...).

The problem is that we need to work out how to draw carbon from the atmosphere, when do do this we are not burying pure carbon, we are taking a lot of nutrients too, so we need some way of draining that. These nutrients could be sold as fertilisers and used to subsidise cost (tax break of purchasers).

To save someone typing it out: no, we couldn't strap on some solar panels.

The best way to combat climate change is undoubtedly to reduce deforestation and increase preservation, all this would do is aid the process. Even if we put one of the factories on everyone's roof, it wouldn't be a % as effective as mother nature.

danman, Jul 07 2009

CO2_20scrubber_20for_20power_20plants [danman, Jul 07 2009]

"de" salination and carbon capture... http://www.scienced...07/090707142138.htm
Not exactly desalination , but if you reduce fresh water load for agri-crops, it is the same as producing the same amount of fresh water. [4whom, Jul 10 2009]


       Greenhouse that allows good ventilation, but no algae.
danman, Jul 07 2009

       The quarry doesn't get rid very effectively. Wouldn't the retired algae in the quarry die, rot, get eaten by bacteria and release their carbon back into the atmosphere?   

       I suggest putting it in worked-out sections of an active uranium mine, just before the shotcreting crews seal those sections off.
pertinax, Jul 07 2009

       Thanks for getting rid of that description...   

       I am picturing your "toaster stand" as some kind of Rolodex-like sheets of algae. If you keep your cylinder's axis of rotation perpendicular to the sun's rays, I bet you could pack a fair number of sheets per rolodex, depending on season and/or lattitude, and get good exposure to sunlight.   

       Your worries of disposal of the carbon captured by this system are unwarranted. It was carbon that was being released, or was released, anyway. You are just getting more energy from it. Like cycling a dollar/rand through the economy a multitude of times. It is the same dollar but it can become more useful if you "recycle" it.   

       Carbon capture (for re-use), and carbon sequestration are horses of different feathers.
4whom, Jul 07 2009

       Completely agreed 4whom.   

       View this as a super eco-friendly form of biofuel, in that we are reusing the carbon that we have already mined-- therefore reducing the need to bring up more Carbon.   

       I imagine the contraption looking somewhat like a very large telescope, being able to swivel ect. We can use this arrangement to hold up the sheets, or we can use a design similar to that of the underside of a mushroom (this would be best for the greenhouse).   

       We also need not restrict these designs to fields, there is plenty of space for these on places like shopping centre roofs.
danman, Jul 07 2009

       The concepts are all good, but lets look to nature and suggest: 'baked' (by trees)   

       What are trees, if not natural devices to optimise the surface area available to gather sunlight for photosynthesis. Your 'sheets of paper' are leaves, allowing ventilation and sun access and creating a phenomenal surface area in a limited volume space.   

       Wrt the disposal problem. Leaves -> litter -> soil -> rock. (So yes, some is released by the organisms involved in this process, but much is not]   

       However, if you believe (as many did on the previous version) that trees are inefficient, we could create a super-theoretically optimised techno-version, and ... if in South Africa ... dispose of the waste in those 4km deep gold mines. Plenty of space down there to last us all for a while.
kindachewy, Jul 07 2009

       Figures I have seen bandied about put algae a factor of eight to twenty times ahead of the best grassy or woody crops, in terms of carbon captured (and biofuels produced) per land area per year.   

       In addition, algae ponds can be established where trees, switchgrass, and other terrestrial crops would be completely unviable - deserts, salt pans, building roofs, the surface of toxic lakes, the ocean, etc.   

       For the best bang for the buck, I'd suggest pyrolising the algae to create biochar, and burying it in agricultural soils. Very little is ever released if studies of ancient Amazonian biochar fields hold true. It can also turn poor soils into productive land - another commodity we could use some more of.
BunsenHoneydew, Jul 10 2009

       Anyone know of a biological approach that could simultaneously desalinate and absorb carbon?   

       The idea I am thinking of (just going to add it now ... Saltwater + Desert) doesn't help much for the carbon sequestration without such a thing ... but could be of interest anyway as it SHOULD lead to cooling (greater evaporation, plus greater humidity in the air, thus helping to do the same as the Glass Steam Superstacks idea   

       But .. if there is such a thing, then we can add that in and make it even better!
kindachewy, Jul 10 2009

       [kindachewy] see link for saline tolerant crops. It is not strictly desalination, but it is headign in the right direction...
4whom, Jul 10 2009

       The 'algae paper' would support the algae how? Is it drenched in water?   

       There are solutions with normal algae tanks using light rods to get the solar power down into the lower reaches, but the problem is that this(and your) approach disperse the incident sunlight onto more surface, and there's is a limit on the amount of dispersal.
loonquawl, Jul 10 2009

       Loonquawl, paper would be kept moist.   

       //...the ocean...// this is quite dangerous. Sure it allows the light to be captured by an extra order of magnitude, but it blocks the light for the creatures lower down and creates a biological monopoly. Works very well though-- experiments have been carried out in SA.
danman, Jul 10 2009


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