No – this is not an obscure Ghostbusters reference. According to the Financial Times, geo-engineering experts at the UK-based Institution of Mechanical Engineering (IME) have deemed “slime-covered buildings”, along with artificial trees and reflective buildings, viable options for removing carbon from the atmosphere.
Although “slime” is a slightly hyperbolic reference to strips of carbon-consuming algae, a recent report by IME says the substance can be installed via bio-reactors on building walls to absorb carbon from the air. Before it decomposes (and really gets slimy) the algae is collected and either decarbonized or reprocessed as fuel. While “slime” carbon capture is still in the planning stages, it is an extremely attractive geo-engineering option because its waste could be used as a biofuel and it would require no additional land to deploy.
The report, entitled “Geo-engineering: Giving us Time to Act,” is intended to advance acceptance of geo-engineering as a potential climate change mitigator and proposes a 75-100 year roadmap for countering climate that includes geo-engineering as part, not all, of the solution. According to the IME:
Geo-engineering is not an encompassing solution to global warming. It is however, another potential component in our approach to climate change that could prove the world with extra time to decarbonise the global economy, a task which has yet to begin in earnest.
Much of the resistance to geo-engineering innovations – such as faux-trees that capture carbon more effectively than the real thing – is based on the fear that these technologies will replace clean energy technology as the preferred solution to reducing carbon intensity. The report emphasizes, however, that geo-engineering is not the so-called silver bullet solution, it’s a stop-gap measure that will help manage the world’s carbon overstock while clean energy is being developed and deployed. (more…)