In 1977, the physicist Freeman Dyson1 proposed the burial of biomass, as a scalable, economical solution to the CO2 problem. Today we know2 that the harvested vegetation should be buried in an engineered dry Environmental Chamber. Plant biomass can be preserved for thousands of years by burial in a dry environment with sufficiently low thermodynamic “Water Activity”, which is the relative humidity in equilibrium with the biomass. A “Water Activity” <60% will not support life, suppressing anaerobic organisms, thus preserving the biomass for millenia. Current agriculture costs, and burial costs indicate US$60/tonne of sequestered CO2 which corresponds to $0.53/gallon of gasoline. If scaled to the level of a major crop, existing CO2 can be extracted from the atmosphere and sequester a significant fraction of prior historical CO2 emissions.
Speaker: Eli Yablonovitch, UC Berkeley
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Stanford, CA 94305
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