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December 4, 2019

Klaus LacknerA unique carbon-capture machine developed by Klaus Lackner, an Arizona State University professor and the founding director of the Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, was recently hailed as one of the most important engineering innovations of 2019 by Popular Science.

Dubbed “mechanical trees” for their ability to remove carbon dioxide from the air a thousand times more effectively than actual trees, the columnal machine works by utilizing sorbent-filled disks that bind carbon dioxide from the air that touches the disks. After collecting carbon diozide, the disks are lowered back into a container where the CO2 is released, purified and can be put to other uses. Lackner, who is also a senior sustainability scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability summarizes the function of the device in the following way:

“Carbon dioxide is a waste product we produce every time we drive our cars or turn on the lights in our homes. Our device can recycle it, bringing it out of the atmosphere (to) either bury it or use it as an industrial gas.”

Recently, ASU and Silicon Kingdom Holdings, a Dublin-based startup entered into a partnership to deploy Lackner’s carbon capture technology at scale. SKH plans to deploy the technology in a pilot CO2 farm targeting 100 metric tons of CO2 per day. The technology will then be deployed to full-scale CO2 farms in multiple locations, each capable of removing 3.8 million metric tons of CO2 annually. At less than $100 per metric ton at scale, the cost of capture is the lowest in the industry and will make it both commercial and impactful toward reducing global warming.