With the race on to reduce CO2 emissions from the atmosphere, we welcomed the Recycling Carbon team from ESRI at Swansea University to inspire our hackers - discussing solutions for everyday activities that could do just that.
We looked at three fundamental things you can do with carbon dioxide emissions:
1) Reduce them
2) Capture them and store them somewhere
3) Capture them and make new, innovative products (with the intention to sell on)
Most public debate seems to revolve around reducing output, with capturing and storing also readily carried out through biological, chemical and physical processes. However, with this, you're required to find somewhere to store it - often a disused oil field, under the ocean or a reservoir - not ideal or sustainable!
But innovative tech entrepreneurs and scientists - the Recycling Carbon team included, are pioneering some exciting advancements at the capture and innovate end of the spectrum.
Climeworks, a group from Germany are behind the world’s first commercial carbon removal technology. They have revolutionised the way we think about reutilising CO2.
"Our direct air capture plants removes CO2 from the atmosphere to supply to customers and to unlock a negative emissions future."
Another example of innovation in this area stems from renowned physicist and engineer Klaus Lackner. The 'synthetic tree' was created to absorb carbon dioxide but unlike real trees, it doesn't expel oxygen. "They are more efficient than natural trees and act like sponges 'soaking-up' CO2 from the atmosphere".
But cost and investment obstacles remain at the forefront of all evolving technologies, as too the mission to prove carbon emissions can be recycled into profitable, carbon neutral fuels or products.
So, the question remains:
With the smarter, connected city of Swansea on the horizon - could we be at the forefront in breakthrough technologies when adopting a more carbon neutral approach to design and delivery?