Saturday, February 10, 2007

Can I claim my £12m please Mr Branson?

The Low Carbon Kid has two ideas for reclaiming carbon from the atmosphere and locking it away - the subject of Richard Branson's technology challenge.

I'm afraid they're both fairly lo-tech, but hey, as long as they work, who cares? It makes them all the more easily implementable.

Here they are:
  1. Grow trees, harvest the wood, turn it into charcoal, which is an inert form of carbon and won't decompose, and sell the charcoal as a soil conditioner to farmers and everyone with a garden. This solution is the subject of an article in the Jan/Feb issue of Renew, the publication of the Open University's NATTA, the independent national UK 'Network for Alternative Technology and Technology Assessment' (Though maybe not the online version). The solution is basd on research conducted in the Amazon rainforest where charcoal hundreds of years old has been discovered and analysed, and its usefulness as a soil stabiliser revealed. The charcoal, as I say, is a permanent lock-up for the carbon, and by selling the charcoal the scheme becomes self-financing.
  2. Grow hemp and use it as a building material, mixed with lime to form 'hempcrete'. Hemp is fast growing and a very good absorber of atmospheric carbon. Once secure in the lime concrete, it gives the material great strength, and locks the carbon up for as long as the house exists. A conference is being held in April to discuss the technology at the Centre for Alternative Technology.

Can I have my money please Mr Branson?

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