• Uncle B

    Love the applied science of synthetic trees, and they may be deemed necessary for our survival, but great hope has been held out to the high CO2 absorption by algae in producing bio-diesel fuels, a soon to rapidly expand technology. Good old fashioned, severe law imposed forest management will help. Growing Hemp (not dope, silly Yank!) in large amounts on semi-arable land will take the pressure off of forests and provide more fiber for paper per acre per year than trees can. Hemp is also a source of edible oil, fiber for plastic car parts, bio-diesel, fiber for clothing and improves poor farmland due to it’s deep roots! It grows wild and naturally in the U.S. and Canada, but was outlawed in the 1930s by unscrupulous government manipulation by cotton growers. Now-a-days, a simple lab test will determine if a farmer is growing dope instead of hemp, so the risk is no longer there, but the law stays on the books out of ignorance and we pay high prices to import hemp from communist China! Are we assholes or what! We gotta change this, and soon, Synthetic trees or not – The air we breathe is at stake!

  • will

    um, so thats a cool idea and all, but instead of cutting trees down and using oil to make these, why not just let the trees live, and then not have to make these? the only reason we would need synthetic trees is because we cut down all the real ones. also, the oxygen that real trees make is kind of important to our ability to live…

  • Thomas Robbins

    Something tells me this is a great way to really wreck the environment. Whereas there is no consensus on man as the primary cause for recent changes in temp and other phenomenon, we sure the heck can be sure that if we directley manipulate the contents of the atmosphere, nameley a natural substance that is the fuel for photosynthesis, we will screw things up on mother earth.

    If we really could predict the weather, even a day in advance, I would be more concerned about climate change. But why do you think the weatherman gets away with saying “50% chance of rain?.” Because we really have no clue and can’t predict anything other than the most obvious and immenent changes in the world.

    Are we saying that trees and plants have enough CO2? Who has asked them? What studies have been done to back up that plants have too rich a CO2 environment, and what studies have been done on the effect from these “synthetic trees” on or number one source of oxygen – trees and plants?

  • Thomas Robbins

    One more thought, you see a picture of fields of these things streching on for miles – why not devote this money and time to wind turbines and solar? It is best to cut back on the use of fossil fuels weather you believe in GW or not. Why make an excuse for us to continue doing what we are doing?

  • Um huh?

    So heres the idea make a synthetic trees to scrub the CO2 from the air which trees need to breathe, and not replace it with O2 which we need to breathe effectively and eventually killing all life as we know it. Gratz ducking fumb idea to me. How about plant more trees or develop hardier hybrids for more arid environments.

    PS. Global warming is a crock of shite anyways. Polital fodder for the gullible and moronic.
    Decaying plant life produce thousands of tons of CO2 than we ever have throughout the entire modern age.

  • V

    Seriously, what was so bad about real trees? You’re saying “they don’t release oxygen” like oxygen is bad for you. Protip: Oxygen is good.

  • Nick Hardman

    How much energy does it cost per tonne of carbon dioxide removed from the environment? Should these things be placed along road sides or on the walls of houses?

  • http://savefile.com/files/1797889 John McCant

    I guess this could be one solution along with others. Seems a little expensive.

  • Carlos

    I got a much better idea. Much cheaper, too. Let’s embark on a short term program of population stabilization, to be followed a long term population reduction. then none of this crap would be necessary. There is not a single social or environmental ill, that would not be improves by a reduction in humans. It’s going to happen, anyway. Either we do it, or mother nature will. And she won’t be very nice, about it.

  • J.S.

    Surely the idea is to supplement the benefits of real trees and to compensate for some of the damage we’ve done by clearcutting, not to cut down real trees and replace them with their robotic cousins. Some commenters here seem to be making large leaps of logic. The writer doesn’t say that oxygen is bad for you, or that artificial trees are better than real trees. He says, “these synthetic trees could be used as CO2 scrubbers cleaning our air. …this technology could buy the world time to development and implement alternative energy sources.” There’s an enormous difference between that and the apocalyptic fantasies a few people are inferring from this article.

  • http://crunch22.blogspot.com/ Peter Reynolds

    How about making smaller versions of these “trees” that fit in front of a car radiator. I’m just saying…

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  • http://greenairradio.com Greenpointer

    I’ve seen these fly swatters before… not physically but here: http://greenairradio.com/?p=439

  • jc

    Sweet, and why don’t we make a synthetic planet while we are at it.

  • MadScientist420

    What the *** are these guys smoking, honesty? I really just don’t understand these people. I would like to know how this guy’s energy balance works out and what he plans to do with the enormous amount of Cl2 gas that will HAVE to be generated. Let’s do a rough energy calculation shall we!
    In case you Redditor’s aren’t aware, there is no natural source for NaOH in the world. It is made by an energy intensive electrochemical reaction where you take aqueous NaCl and electrolyze it to make NaOH(aq), Cl2(g), and H2(g). The E,rev(V) ~2.2V and you make 1 OH for every e- and need one OH- to scrub one CO2 molecule. We (total anthropogenic emissions) emit 28 billion metric tonnes per year of CO2 ( that’s 2.8 × 10^16 g CO2 or 6.36×10^14 gmol CO2). Since there are 96,485C/mol e-, and 1 C/sec = 1 amp, this means we need an average amperage of 2×10^12 Amps at 2.2V (or 4.4 TeraWatts) MINIMUM to make enough NaOH not mention I have no idea what they plan on doing with 1.6×10^16 L-STP of CL2(g).
    You can use the H2 to make energy back but you’re still talking about a shit load of energy. In fact, the US made 3.979 Trillion KWH of electricity in 2004, which about 10% of the energy needed to make enough NaOH….
    I don’t know, how about we just build some *** wind and solar farms…

  • Doug


    thanks for the math and equations, just please leave out the f-bombs next time.

    other than that we value constructive criticism and perspectives.


  • Mark Kiernan

    Notice how scientists with PHDs and Masters will tell us that global warming is real and man made, but people who have not even finished high school will say it is a ‘crock of shite’. Leave the science to those who know what they are talking about and you return to your rock, and let the intelligent people sort out the problems that people like you continue to produce.

  • Willy

    Every environmental problem we’ve ever created (which does NOT include global warming) was caused because we couldn’t leave well enough alone and just let nature do its job. When we try to play god, bad things happen. Let nature take its course. I promise we’ll be just fine.

    This is an idiotic idea designed to make global warming alarmists drool all over the inventor’s “incredible ingenuity” so he/she can get more money.

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  • Rob

    Um .. i got a better idea. It costs about 5c and looks a lot less ugly and alien. Buy a damn seed and chuck it into the dirt.

  • http://www.naturallyearthfriendly.com Brianne

    You guys should see the “Can Solar Power Save Our Cities?” post on http://modernurbanliving.com/. It’s possibly a great way for cities to beautify the downtown areas and collect some solar power at the same time. They aren’t ugly to look at either.

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  • evm

    this is plain stupid, dont cut the damn trees to begin with. What is the cost to make one of these and the cost to make a real tree? i mean common.

  • Jonathan

    In response to Will and other morons…
    You must live in areas surrounded by water and nutrient rich land because I live in a desert. Water is scarce, the nourished land is a dust dowl. This experienment is being used in Arizona, so far has been a success. I would love to see these being implimented into building designs.
    The idea of replanting is a great idea… but how about start with not cutting down the 398 million trees that have been cut down in the US this year alone that have not have a replacement tree associated. Or better yet get proactive in your environment !!! And plant some trees!

  • http://n/a Dave

    I completely agree with Jonathan. Look initially I dont like the idea of ‘synthetic trees’ at all, but try seeing this idea as a carbon dioxide munching machine rather than a ‘synthetic tree’. It is absolutely true that whatever happens the world will continue to ‘develop’ all exisitring forests out of existance. No amount of “new democracy” or lobbying will stop the de-vegitation that has been going on for centuries and is ever increasing. Just blogging a note to say “oh lets just stop chopping down trees” is a completely inneffectual protest. Spend twenty years working in the environmental movement, and on the way, get a degree in environmental science or environmental law/any law (or preferably all), and a person will come to realise this. The big problem I see with this idea is the use of liquid sodium carbonate… why not use living algea (clorophyll) instead….? And then, why not harvest the CO2 directly from the source (ie the power plant). Sure the gas will be hot, but if NASA can build a sheild that lets a rocket re-enter the stratosphere…..(ya get me).

    • http://savetheworldfree.ning.com/page/frequent-asked-questions savenaturefree google-me

      While I agree with most of what you say, A lobby group with 50 or so members can help swing an election result in a small town or electorate. When the contenders are neck and neck the groups issues become the issues of the contenders. What we need is bigger local groups that share ad revenue and care about the earth and nature. such as savetheWorldfree.ning.com – Not uniting is no longer an option for the people of world.

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  • Drew

    Carlos should be elected President. Is he the only person who actually sees the big picture? Amen brother! You have true vision.

    As far as this invention goes, a much more useful one would be one which uses solar power to convert CO2 into O2 and stores carbon in an aliphatic chain. Even using this for fuel would be perfectly acceptable, because your net contribution to the atmosphere would be zero. Fossil fuel brings carbon from underground and puts it into the air. This method takes carbon from the air and puts it back into the air, all while producing oxygen.

    Some smart*** is going to say that this already exists, and it’s called a tree. While true, I expect a synthetic tree could be made more efficient, and when was the last time you saw a car that ran on wood?

  • Zachary Scott

    Wait wait WAIT you mean to say that this only pulls the CO2 out of the air not scrubbing it and capturing just the carbon like the system that used LYE? LAME and worthless sure in the other system you have to repalce the lye once its saturated with carbon but it puts the oxygen back into the air this just captures the co2 and locks it away. BAD IDEA.

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  • http://gogreen.theconsortium.co.uk Graham

    While real trees convert CO2 to oxygen, these synthetic trees store it and then it’s delivered and buried under the sea…is this really the best way for lowering CO2 in our atmosphere? I really think that other alternatives need to be found to convert the CO2 back into O2, rather than just dusting it under the rug. Not good at all. And if there was ever a disturbance causing the CO2 to be released again…

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  • chris

    PLEASE RESPOND: what was the program these synthetic tress where on? it was a few years back and it also talked about eco cities and a floating city which revolves the earth from what i can remember. it was a great show and i really want to see it again..

  • colton

    Damn, I had a similar idea to this. Thought of making something that could filter air in a very similar way. Also I had an idea or proposal that we need to figure out a way to speed up how fast trees grow.