ARIZONA NEWS

Mechanical ‘tree’ planted at Arizona State University in hopes of fighting climate change

Apr 22, 2022, 2:15 PM

PHOENIX — A mechanical “tree,” the first of its kind, has been planted at Arizona State University in Tempe in a test of a new technology designed to fight global warming.

The MechanicalTree was built by Carbon Collect, an Irish company, based on research from ASU professor Klaus Lackner.

The 33-foot-tall tower, which is designed to remove carbon dioxide from the air, was installed on a test pad near the Biodesign C building.

The Tempe installation will help researchers determine if the technology could be effective on a wider scale.

Excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere traps heat and contributes to global warming.

“Carbon dioxide is a waste product we produce every time we drive our cars or turn on the lights in our homes,” Lackner said in a press release.

“Carbon Collect’s MechanicalTree can recycle it, bringing it out of the atmosphere to either bury it or use it as an industrial gas.”

The metal column has 5-foot diameter disks that each hold six leaves. The device collects and stores carbon that can later be purified, processed and put to other uses.

It is expected to removed up to 200 pounds of carbon per day.

“We had the opportunity to solve this problem 40 years ago,” Lackner said. “We now seem to have locked into the problem.

“We are going to have to pull some of the carbon out of the atmosphere in order to balance this.”

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Mechanical ‘tree’ planted at Arizona State University in hopes of fighting climate change