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Carbon ‘Vacuum Cleaners’ Impacting the World

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Vacuum cleaner.

Vacuum cleaner.

via Pixabay

via Pixabay

Vacuum cleaner.

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Earth is a constantly changing place. Many of these changes have had enormously positive impacts, like the advancement of technology, the discovery of cures for an array of illnesses and the growth of many economies worldwide. However, some changes have had detrimental effects on the world, with the main one being climate change. According to NASA, the levels of carbon dioxide in the air are the highest they have been in over half a million years. In addition, the Arctic Sea has the smallest area of ice it has ever had. These negative environmental changes to the Earth have been taking place largely in part by the release of greenhouse gas by humans. While there is not a permanent solution, the release of greenhouse gases can be cut by using a number of alternative technologies, such as direct-air capture.

Direct-air capture is the latest technology created to combat the growing problem of climate change. A company called Climeworks has created the first commercial direct-air unit. One of the main Climeworks projects is in Iceland. The many machines that make up the facility take carbon dioxide from the air and pump it underground into a layer of volcanic rock. The carbon dioxide and the volcanic rock have a chemical reaction that forms carbonate material. What’s great about the carbonate is that it locks the carbon underground for potentially millions of years, effectively preserving the environment. Also, because the main factor of the process is the volcanic rock, basalt, these systems can be set up anywhere in the world where there is a layer of basalt rock. The U.S. has a large system of basaltic rock that has great potential to be used to store billions of tons of carbon from harming the environment.

While preserving the environment sounds great on its own, Climeworks systems have additional benefits. In the food and drink industry, companies can set up a direct-air capture system and can take usable carbon dioxide right out of the air. The carbon dioxide can be used in carbonated drinks, packing various meats and vegetables and for making dry ice. Direct-air capture can also increases the growth and production of crops, as plants need carbon dioxide to carry out photosynthesis. With a direct-air capture machine, farmers can yield up to 20% more crops. Lastly, as fossil fuels are the main culprits for the climate change, direct-air capture machines can take the stored carbonate and create a number of different products. When the carbonate is mixed with water, it can be made into a fuel that recycles carbon instead of creating more. Also, the carbonate can be used to create products like plastic and more. In closing, direct-air capture plants are making a big impact on the Earth and the many creatures living on it.

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Carbon ‘Vacuum Cleaners’ Impacting the World