As the carbon revolution continues here are some of the materials that store carbon including bioplastic cladding and fungi insulation.
Sequestering carbon removed from the atmosphere in buildings and products is a key way to address climate change.
This can be done by taking plant materials such as wood, cork, hemp and algae that have captured atmospheric carbon via photosynthesis and using them directly.
Alternatively, it can be converted into other materials that store carbon permanently.
Bioplastic is considered a carbon negative material because it contains more carbon than was emitted during the manufacture and use of the material.
Climate change is a physical problem
Climate change is a physical problem as there is too much carbon in the atmosphere.
How can we not turn that into our largest resource,
Other products use carbon captured from factory smokestacks and other industrial processes that emit greenhouse gases.
However, these products cannot be considered carbon negative, as they do not lead to a net reduction in carbon in the atmosphere.
Below are examples of carbon storage materials
Some brands have developed carbon-negative bioplastics that can be used in cars, interiors and cladding.
The material contains biochar, a carbon-rich material produced by burning biomass without oxygen.
This prevents carbon from escaping in the form of carbon dioxide.
Biochar, if it were left on Earth and you came back to it in a thousand years, it would look exactly the same,
But if it is burned the carbon will be re-released.
Bioplastic was recently used to cover a car dealership in Munich, storing 14 tons of carbon.
Some startups are using mycelium to create building insulation that is naturally fire-resistant and removes at least 16 tons of carbon per month from the atmosphere as it grows.
Mycelium, a vital substance that forms the root system of fungi, feeds
On agricultural waste and in this process it sequesters the carbon that is stored in this biomass.
“It is naturally fire retardant and has better insulating properties than most standard insulation as it has the ability to sequester carbon.”
Mycelium is a fast-growing fungus that is cheap to produce in specialized bioreactors.
It can be grown in molds to create usable products such as packaging and lamps.
It can also be made into new materials including leather-like products such as Mylo,
These in turn can also be used to produce handbags and clothing.
Some carpet tile manufacturers are aiming to make their entire product range carbon neutral by 2040,
Starting with the Embodied Beauty and Flash Line rugs released this year.
They are made almost exclusively from recycled plastic and various biomaterials.
Which the brand says stores more embodied carbon than the products emit during their production.
It is not carbon negative throughout its full life cycle, because end-of-life elements of transportation and use we can influence but cannot control at this stage.
So we wanted to focus on decarbonizing what we could control.
A fully grown tree can remove 22 kilograms of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over the course of a year,
This means that the material is carbon neutral as long as it is responsibly sourced and the felled tree is compensated with a new planting.
Any carbon stored in wood must be balanced against emissions produced during transportation and processing.
Replacement trees must also be left to grow long enough so they can be harvested and turned into carbon storage materials.
However, one problem with wood is the huge amount of waste produced by the wood industry.
Only a portion of each tree is used and wood processing produces large amounts of cuttings and sawdust.
In addition, only about 10 percent of wood is recycled.
3D printed wood
Some additive manufacturing companies have developed a way to convert sawdust and lignin discarded by the wood and paper industries into 3D printing filaments.
By making products from waste, the company hopes to prevent more trees from being cut down as well as prevent wood waste from decomposing or burning, which would re-release stored carbon.
Olivine is one of the most common minerals on Earth.
It is able to absorb its mass of carbon dioxide when crushed and dispersed on the ground.
This means that it is suitable as a fertilizer and an alternative to sand or gravel in landscaping.
While the gaseous version can be used as an additive in the production of cement, paper or 3D printing filament.
It also absorbs carbon dioxide very easily.
One ton of olivine sand can absorb up to one ton of carbon dioxide, depending on conditions.
Some companies have developed a type of concrete that captures carbon in its production while replacing emissions-intensive cement.
It is responsible for 8% of all greenhouse gas emissions and waste generated by the steel industry.
Currently, the process relies on captured industrial emissions,
Which means it reduces the amount of new emissions being pumped into the atmosphere,
But it does not reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
However, once companies pull CO2 from the atmosphere via direct air capture (DAC),
This would make the final material carbon negative.
An Australian company injects carbon dioxide into industrial waste such as mine tailings.
It turns from a gas into a solid that can then be used to make cement bricks and other building materials.
This process replicates the same mineral carbonation process that occurs in nature where carbon dioxide dissolves in rainwater and reacts with rocks to form new carbonate minerals.
Solar Foods is one of a growing group of companies that use emissions captured from industrial plants to produce food and beverages.
The Finnish company uses microbes to convert carbon dioxide into a meat substitute called solen.
Carbon dioxide is injected into the fermentation tank along with hydrogen and various nutrients,
Which are consumed by all microbes and transformed into protein, which is then harvested and dried.
Resulting in a powder with a similar composition to dried soybeans.
CO2 currently comes from industry, but it can also come from carbon in the atmosphere.
If scaled up, this technology could potentially provide humanity with its protein needs while using a fraction of the land and resources used by traditional agriculture.
Thus freeing up more land for afforestation, solar energy and other means of combating climate change.
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