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happyhalfway t1_j910ptf wrote

Cool science, but scalable seems a bit of stretch.


Truckerontherun t1_j9116lx wrote

Isn't that called photosynthesis? I believe trees have been doing that since they evolved


ElectionOver4Hours t1_j912b5y wrote

SCIENTISTS have found a NEW WAY to generate PROFIT that justifies a huge COMPANY... Instead of planting trees which is the cheaper, better, more environmental solution.

'Carbon capture', I'm taking about you specifically.

Honestly, so many solutions can be had if we just accept a tiny reduction in economic output and restructure our economies by the tiniest amounts


UniversalMomentum t1_j913sb0 wrote

Come on this headline has to be like a little bit of a joke right... The wood is already trapped carbon.


Cyber_Dan t1_j91am1m wrote

Planting more trees/bushes/grass in densely populated areas sounds like would do the same thing and have the added benefit of shade, increased oxygen and air quality.


Halas1920 t1_j91dtih wrote

What happens if the house catches fire?


Smeathy t1_j91h3jh wrote

"scalable", these buildings last decades, how much carbon can it absorb without reaching carrying capacity. How expensive is the material compared to alternatives?


ecksate t1_j91qkb4 wrote

The article so much better written and well informed than the comments.

Stronger wood could mean using less concrete, which I think is the number one source of carbon emissions. We stopped using wood for huge buildings because it was flammable and concrete and steel were stronger.

But fire prevention has improved incredibly, in building construction, the work that the Underwriters lab does, fire detection and suppression,

Maybe one day we'll see skyscrapers that are closer to carbon neutral.


alizenweed t1_j91rr1w wrote

Energy efficient?… Even if you ignore the fact that the wood is washed in NaOH, NaSO3, then boiled in H2O2, then dried in vacuum which have high CO2 footprints, the footprint from making the MOFs is higher than what is captured. Overall, this process increases CO2. This is a gimmick.


DrSmirnoffe t1_j91ty5b wrote

But do you know what they also do?

They spread their seeds and make more trees. Those trees then soak up more CO2, which goes into making more wood and tree-seeds. Gee, it's almost like a cycle! A CARBON cycle!


ExtantPlant t1_j91yy46 wrote

You're on the wrong sub to be posting that nonsense. First of all, the root system of a tree is usually about as big as the tree is above ground. The carbon stored there should mostly remain in the soil. Second, "used in construction" would store that carbon semi-permanently. Third, even if they were left to decompose, that's not how the decomposition process works at all.


Fantastic_Fox_9497 t1_j927v3g wrote

Now scientists just have to figure out how much wood a wood engineer would engineer if a wood engineer could engineer wood that traps carbon dioxide through a potentially scalable, energy-efficient process that also makes the material stronger for use in construction.


zero0n3 t1_j928bw3 wrote

I wonder if this is a materials process (coating the wood then injecting the co2 or something like that) or genetic modification to have it absorb more co2?

Because genetically modified trees that:

  • absorb more co2
  • use less nutrients & water / co2 captured
  • grows and works faster
  • produces wood that is an order of magnitude better than current wood

Is probably like some golden chalice in green carbon capture


noldshit t1_j928lkt wrote

Forgive my forgetfulness, didn't they teach us something about plants and trees turning CO2 into oxygen back in grade school science class?


ATaintedPanda t1_j929gzt wrote

So if there’s more carbon in the wood would it not release more when burned?


squanchingonreddit t1_j92b96f wrote

Mass timber buildings. They're the future. All wood or mostly wood. The large timber actually burn very slowly and give ample time to escape the building. It's much better than steel that just collapses when heated.


regalrecaller t1_j92cxr5 wrote

So you're telling me that we spent all that time and money drilling and pumping oil out of the earth in order to refine it into gasoline, so it could be used by a very large number of internal combustion engines to be vaporized into atmospheric carbon, only to then be extracted from the atmosphere using factory-size large fans in response to global warming, and then inserted into wood as a building material?


All_Usernames_Tooken t1_j92e1ou wrote

This process looks promising. I’ve always thought there would be a process of just reversing the process of of global warming. It should be possible to create fossil fuels. The time scale of their creation seems to be the biggest problem to overcome. Creating new coal for instance by putting wood under immense pressures without decay for long periods of time. I ponder what depth the wood would have to be buried at and compacted to attain a result similar to how we find coal today. Using geothermal energy to do much of the hard work. We’d probably need forest the size of entire states to sequester enough carbon to make any real mark on the amount of carbon in our atmosphere.


alizenweed t1_j92e7rv wrote

Scaling this would release more co2 than sequester. Absolute rubbish science.


[deleted] t1_j92ew0x wrote

Nah the amount of vegetation required would be way more than could fit to do anything significant. Plants don't use that much CO2, and I don't think CO2 levels change the structural properties of the plants, it just accelerates growth rate in general.


Fearlessleader85 t1_j92ha3z wrote

That would be pretty cool, provided they didn't become crazy invasive.

From my livingroom window, i can see a few thousand trees. Probably 75% of them are Russian Olive trees, which stink and have large spines that will punch through a leather glove.

I do not live in Russia. These were brought in a few decades ago and planted as decoration. They're EVERYWHERE now.

And they're kinda dangerous. They get to 30-35' tall, then just randomly fall over.


Tdanger78 t1_j92i7ob wrote

Awesome. Now let’s convince the majority of people to reduce their production of carbon emissions along with this.


TheArcticFox444 t1_j92th7v wrote

>And they're kinda dangerous. They get to 30-35' tall, then just randomly fall over.

The soil probably isn't right. Russian olives are banned in my community because of this. They blow over in wind. But, in some parts of the country, they are used as wind breaks! They need rocky soil for their roots to wrap around and get a grip.


zenzukai t1_j933wvs wrote

Using MOF (Metal Organic Framework) to bind it. Scaling this would be very expensive. Hydrogen fuel production uses MOFs, building a house out of them economically would be quite the feat.

There have been significant advances in advanced wood materials. Treated and compressed wood can now get as strong as kevlar and steel.


ApparentlyABot t1_j9349ju wrote

There are a LOT of other factors as to why we use concrete over wood, strength, toughness and all those other attributes.

Also how is concrete the NUMBER one source of carbon emissions exactly?


Viking_Genetics t1_j936n58 wrote

Almost all plants you can breed to be sterile, paulownia (Empress) trees grow insanely fast, some of the hybrid clones that have been bred are 100% sterile and it can only be propagated through clones, so stuff like that could potentially be a way to help decrease the risk of something like that happening


bergserker t1_j936zbb wrote

Filled with carbon dioxide, would they be more flame retardant?


grat_is_not_nice t1_j93barq wrote

Because to make cement for concrete, you heat calcium carbonate (limestone) to drive off carbon dioxide to make lime (calcuim oxide). This process is energy intensive, requiring quarrying equipment, crushers, heating, cooling and grinding, as well as emitting vast amounts of carbon dioxide as waste product.


ApparentlyABot t1_j93brip wrote

Okay, but how does that make it number one? I feel like there are many other I dustries, such as rare earth mining and iron working that requires the same amount of energy if not more.

What makes the concrete industry the worst as you put it?


nosaneoneleft t1_j93dfqi wrote

good idea. nice..

however, what I see is just gymnastics so people can continue to add to the population growth. in the end whatever gain will be made by a technology like this will be eaten up by the increase on population. maybe it is supposedly slowing but I don't see it coming in time.

still a good idea. doubt it catches on


thenoaf t1_j93h611 wrote

I mean yeah but environmentalists will oppose it because the word "GMO" is scary. I was just reading about the opposition to this exact thing the other day


masterofshadows t1_j93ijfz wrote

They've already invented carbon negative concrete. They just don't use it due to cost. Is this process going to be cheaper than traditional concrete/steel? Probably not, so it will not be used as well unless we start mandating it.


Morthra t1_j93in97 wrote

One other thing about concrete that gets glossed over a lot is that it requires sand dredged up from riverbeds and other places where it is water tumbled. Wind tumbled sand, like what you find in deserts such as the Sahara, is unsuitable due to its smooth shape.

Demand for concrete in construction is contributing to erosion of riverbanks and other habitat destruction in this way.


stateescapes t1_j93pi28 wrote

Check out Plantd. Made of hemp and from Asheville, NC. Founder Josh is great guy too


BigPickleKAM t1_j93vjdc wrote

Depending on the size of the building wood can have a better fire survivability rating than steel as wood beams take a long long time to burn through to a point of failure. While a correspondingly strong steel beam would lose its ability to remain rigid.


>A fire test conducted in 1961 at the Southwest Research Institute compared the fire endurance of a 7x21-inch glulam timber with a W16x40 steel beam. Both beams spanned approximately 43.5 feet and were loaded to full design load (approximately 12,450 lb.). After about 30 minutes, the steel beam deflected more than 35 inches and collapsed into the test furnace, ending the test. The wood beam deflected 2 1/4 inches with more than 75% of the original wood section undamaged. Calculation procedures provided in a new publication available from the American Wood Council, entitled Technical Report 10: Calculating the Fire Resistance of Exposed Wood Members, estimates that the failure time of the 7x21-inch wood beam would have exceeded 65 minutes if the test had not ended at 30 minutes.


Of course wooden beams large enough to build a modern sky scraper would be so large they would eliminate all interior volume making them a non practical choice. But for low rise apartments it can be a good choice.


bremergorst t1_j93yq8g wrote

That just sounds like a convenient way to engineer an invasive species that will ultimately consume the earth

Yeah I have no idea, sorry about that.


darga89 t1_j93zhjp wrote

> Or, stronger wood in traditional stick built houses wouldn’t be awful

yeah right, they'll just increase stud spacing and reduce sheathing thickness with any new tech advances.


zaetchaos t1_j940jtv wrote

This is really nice. Maybe one day we can reverse all this damage


cix6cix t1_j941l6k wrote

Does anyone know if the C02 capturing materials ever saturate?


dmattox10 t1_j941sz1 wrote

This person is correct, simulations allow for much more accurate information on how to build, which has made boats for example more fragile in the same way. They used to use much much more fiberglass than they do now that we fully understand it’s strength.


bigdaddyborg t1_j943zbv wrote

Increasing stud spacing (without compromising structural strength) would actually help with getting residential buildings closer to a carbon neutral life-cycle. As it would reduce thermal bridging and make homes easier/cheaper to maintain a healthy internal temperature.


DigiTrailz t1_j948qcu wrote

Its not like once one new idea is made the other is shot, dumped in the ocean, and said to have "gone on life finding journey". You can two ideas and do them together or even independently.


nigeltuffnell t1_j949qas wrote

Yeah, I've noticed a small problem with this. Lignin (which their process will remove) provides much of the woods rigidity. Not sure how you would get something with as predictable properties as the natural wood itself.


SuperGameTheory t1_j94cea2 wrote

"Right now, there is no biodegradable, sustainable substrate for deploying carbon dioxide-sorbent materials"

Correct me if I'm wrong, but growing vegetation in and of itself is a biodegradable, sustainable, carbon dioxide-sorbent process. Maybe we should look at fast growing, strong plants to harvest for building materials. Also, plant growth is solar that's neat.

The delignification process they describe sounds like the first steps of paper making, which isn't a pretty process when we're talking about wood prep and digestion. After all that, is this product going to be a net carbon sink? I really doubt it.

Can't we just genetically engineer bamboo for better viability?


Tobias_Atwood t1_j94m2kx wrote

I'm calling it now. We're gonna get jackasses demanding "non-GMO wood" for their homes.


tired_hillbilly t1_j94oizl wrote

Creating concrete takes a lot of energy, which is one source of CO2, but creating cement releases CO2 in one step of the process. Even if you had a 100% carbon-free source of energy, creating cement still produces CO2.


BigRedSpoon2 t1_j94w9fn wrote

So, okay

I've worked my way through the article

And... I don't know.

First, potentially is doing a lot of heavy lifting. Lots of things are potentially energy-effecient, but a quick 'command+f' shows no mention of 'carbon neutral' or 'carbon negative'. But, hey, if its more environmentally friendly than alternatives, that's great too, and an easier bar to reach. From my reading, it sounds like that's not the goal either, this isn't attempting to be the future of carbon capture, but rather to reduce emissions concerning construction, which, great.

But the second, arguably bigger hurdle, is affordability, and that, I can't find any mention of. There's no price comparison between this method, vs contemporary materials.

Corporations would jump on this like nothing else if it were cheaper than present methods.

Scalability would definitely help towards this end, yes. But would it achieve it is still up in the air. And I've no reason to believe a construction company would want this, instead of, say, normal wood. Yes, its more durable than regular wood, but so are a lot of things. What in the normal construction process is this aiming to replace?

And as the news article says, thats not even something they've figured out, yet. That's their 'next step'. The primary article just outlines how they made it.

So I frankly, don't have a lot of hope for this project. The science behind it, great. But its real world applicability? That's not something they've figured out.


EnkiduOdinson t1_j954b8e wrote

In fact if you treated concrete like a country it would be third on the list of countries that emit the most CO2, right after China and the US. So concrete production produces more CO2 than India with its population of a billion people


EnkiduOdinson t1_j954mw3 wrote

Build houses out of them and plant more trees in their stead. Rinse and repeat. According to climate scientist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber we have to build 2 billion residential spaces (be it houses or flats) from wood to get CO2 levels down to where they should be


Person012345 t1_j95g0mp wrote

Scientists have discovered how to plant a tree.


GarmeerGirl t1_j95p9rr wrote

This sounds more like fantasy revisionist science we’ve been getting for decades. Trees job is to convert carbon dioxide with their leaves and turn it into oxygen. Why should they instead hoard poisonous carbon dioxide?? Don’t forget the part trees are being prevented from converting carbon dioxide into oxygen because 90% or rain forests have been chopped down. So the remaining 10% will be hoarding carbon dioxide instead of turning it into oxygen. Um ok yeah makes a lot of sense.


littleendian256 t1_j95rhfv wrote

I doubt it's more efficient than planting a seed and taking care of the small plant while it's growing


altiuscitiusfortius t1_j963s8r wrote

My house was built in 1929 using old growth lumber by somebody who didn't know how how strong to build things, and it was overbuilt so much I could park a tank in my living room.

Literal tree trunks for beams that are so dense I can't pound a nail in to them. The "2x4s" for framing walls measure 3inches x6 inches. The subfloor isn't thin plywood, its 3x12 inch planks


SorsOG t1_j966xc1 wrote

As much as we can hope this will be viable in the future, we also don't know what long term effects trapped CO2 could have on wood. It could make it deteriorate faster than anticipated for all we know. Or even how long the trapped CO2 will stay trapped to keep it strong.


lavendula13 t1_j96qqyi wrote

The process appears to be highly intensive (and thus expensive). Certainly more so than cutting down a tree and sawing it into 2x4s, etc. Why not genetically engineer a species of tree that takes up more CO2 (and other elements) while deferring the formation of lignin.


propaganda_bot-9733 t1_j96rk7f wrote

Concrete is not even close to the number one source of carbon emissions. It accounts for roughly 3% of total emissions, which is about 1/4 the amount that road transportation emits.

If we stopped using concrete completely, alone this action would have pretty much no measurable effect on our C02 problem. Although it could be part of the mosaic of solutions and that is worth saying.


bernyzilla t1_j96s0nq wrote

Thank you. 2,000 tones is an insane amount. A quick Google search puts the weight closer to 20,000 pounds or ten tons.

Which will dramatically change the calculus for carbon sequestration. Also remember that this only works for new trees, and that mature forests release as much carbon as they absorb.

Still, I am all for planning as much trees as we can possibly get away with. Climate change is an emergency and we should be doing everything possible to mitigate it.


danielravennest t1_j97a51j wrote

On the other hand, one old house I lived in needed concrete floor support jacks in the crawl space because the floor joists were too weak on their own. They just didn't have standards and building inspectors back then.

On the other hand, when I renovated, I found the wall studs were actual 2x4s, not 1.5x3.5 like modern ones. But they were rough cut, right from the sawmill.


danielravennest t1_j97e8rr wrote

That's a completely wrong number. An 80 foot red oak grown in a forest is about 10 tons. That assumes it is 2 feet in diameter at the base.

Source: former tree farmer, and now woodworker "from the tree". That means I harvest a tree, get it cut into lumber, and dry it. I know how much those logs weigh.

The biggest log I ever dealt with was a 3 feet in diameter x 20 ft long oak, which was 5 tons. That was a yard oak, rather than a forest oak. Lack of competition allowed big side branches and therefore a fat trunk.

A freshly cut southern red oak is about 42 pounds per cubic foot oven dry weight, and an equal amount of water when freshly cut. "Dried" wood contains 6-14% moisture in addition to the dry weight. Wood is porous, and exchanges moisture with air that has any humidity in it. So in practice the weight in a finished product is about 46 pounds per cubic foot.


danielravennest t1_j97fst3 wrote

Within reason, the individual tree weight doesn't matter. A "closed canopy" is when you look up in a forest and can't see any sky, just leaves and branches. That means all the available sunlight is being used by leaves.

So for a given soil and climate, a closed canopy maximizes the CO2 capture in tons per acre/hectare. If you want to produce durable wood products and store the carbon, you generally don't want a lot of little skinny trees. You want the trunks to be big enough to get useful pieces out of it.


One-Plane7101 t1_j97u5p4 wrote

Evolution is pushing trees to do that anyway. Only drought/flood resistant plants will survive as climate changes. It could take a couple hundred thousand years or so, but it’ll happen.