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Biotech Earth Science Technology

Breakthrough In Artificial Photosynthesis Captures CO2 In Acetate 128

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers from Berkeley Lab and the U.S. Dept. of Energy have created an artificial photosynthetic process that capture carbon dioxide in acetate, "the most common building block today for biosynthesis." The research has been published in the journal Nano Letters (abstract). "Atmospheric carbon dioxide is now at its highest level in at least three million years, primarily as a result of the burning of fossil fuels. Yet fossil fuels, especially coal, will remain a significant source of energy to meet human needs for the foreseeable future. Technologies for sequestering carbon before it escapes into the atmosphere are being pursued but all require the captured carbon to be stored, a requirement that comes with its own environmental challenges. ... By combining biocompatible light-capturing nanowire arrays with select bacterial populations, the new artificial photosynthesis system offers a win/win situation for the environment: solar-powered green chemistry using sequestered carbon dioxide."
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Breakthrough In Artificial Photosynthesis Captures CO2 In Acetate

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  • by jdharm ( 1667825 ) on Friday April 17, 2015 @09:16AM (#49493127)
    "...solar-powered green chemistry using sequestered carbon dioxide." Trees. Quit cutting them down. Plant more. Problem solved.
    • by Joe Gillian ( 3683399 ) on Friday April 17, 2015 @09:22AM (#49493169)

      I don't know how viable these devices are for mass production or what it takes to keep them running, but you could potentially use them in places (building roofs, taller light fixtures in parking lots) where there isn't enough space or it isn't viable to plant trees.

      I do recall, however, someone pointing out to me that industrial hemp is more efficient at removing co2 than even some trees.

      • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday April 17, 2015 @09:28AM (#49493237) Homepage Journal

        I do recall, however, someone pointing out to me that industrial hemp is more efficient at removing co2 than even some trees.

        Hemp is harder on the soil than its proponents would have you believe. Bamboo is even more efficient than hemp, you can harvest it and build stuff out of it every five years or so, sequestering carbon. And you can do it all with hand tools. You do need water, but it can be pretty crappy water.

        The proper solution will be varied.

        We already have a way to fix CO2 on your roof, it's called a green roof.

        Not cutting down the trees is a useful step, because mature growth fixes more CO2 than new growth.

        • by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Friday April 17, 2015 @10:39AM (#49493827) Homepage

          Not cutting down the trees is a useful step, because mature growth fixes more CO2 than new growth.

          You're not thinking long-term. Eventually the trees will die, decompose, and go back into the system as CO2. No, what you want to be doing is cutting down trees after their maximum growth rate has been achieved, then sequester the logs someplace. Clearing old growth makes room for newer faster growing trees that will soak up more CO2 than if you left old growth in its place. The only advantage of that (leaving old growth behind) is a more stable ecosystem as it would render that area less disturbed.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by sillybilly ( 668960 )

            Yeah, but what you are forgetting is topsoil depth is pretty lacking around the world, and when trees die, decay and go back into the global carbon cycle, a portion of them is converted into usable fertile black humus rich topsoil, which is undigestable to even the top digesting lifeforms. Topsoil by far is the ultimate form of carbon sequestration, and also the source of underground coal after millions of years if it undergoes tectonic heat and molten lava silicate phase separation.

            On another note, the dia

        • by Dr. Evil ( 3501 ) on Friday April 17, 2015 @10:51AM (#49493921)

          "...mature growth fixes more CO2 than new growth."

          Only if your definition of "mature" is the peak-growth period of the trees and not a forest which has stopped growing.

          Mature forests are as carbon neutral as an untapped oil deposit. Carbon release through decay balances with carbon capture from growth.

          Using forests as a tool for carbon capture means either growing forests to maturity as carbon storage fields, or clearcutting new-growth forests and building permanent structures with a lot of wood, of course considerin the carbon-cost of processing the lumber and restoring soil nutrients.

          Hardwood floors in shopping malls might be a good start.

          • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday April 17, 2015 @11:19AM (#49494213) Homepage Journal

            Only if your definition of "mature" is the peak-growth period of the trees and not a forest which has stopped growing.

            You've got to take it on a species-by-species basis. Take, for example, Sequoia Sempervirens. Right up until the trees fall down because they outgrow their root systems, older trees put on more mass and thus fix more CO2 than the same area filled to capacity with younger trees.

            Even trees which aren't getting taller are often getting thicker, so the question for a given species is whether younger or older members put on more mass for a given area. Virtually all of the non-water mass of all vegetation is carbon, and nearly all of the carbon of all vegetation (even relatively high soil carbon users like corn) comes from the air.

            • by Smauler ( 915644 )

              You've got to take it on a species-by-species basis. Take, for example, Sequoia Sempervirens. Right up until the trees fall down because they outgrow their root systems, older trees put on more mass and thus fix more CO2 than the same area filled to capacity with younger trees.

              Then they die, and decompose, releasing nearly all that CO2 back into the atmosphere.

              Even trees which aren't getting taller are often getting thicker, so the question for a given species is whether younger or older members put on m

              • None of your points are wrong, however replacing deforested areas with forests is a net loss in atmospheric carbon. Sure they don't magically sit there and scrub the atmosphere, but the existence of the forest is sequestered carbon that was previously in the air.
              • Then they die, and decompose, releasing nearly all that CO2 back into the atmosphere.

                Again, that depends on the rate and type of decomposition. In fact, if you allow duff to build up, it sequesters carbon.

                Yes, trees that are growing do take carbon out of the atmosphere. After they die, it gets released back.

                Some of it gets released back. The faster it gets released back, the more of it gets released back. Some of the carbon is sequestered in the soil.

                • by Smauler ( 915644 )

                  drinkypoo, be honest. It essentially all gets released back in mature forests. Do you think that which doesn't goes somewhere magical?

                  There isn't new coal being created by trees at the moment, that we've seen, at any significant rate.

                  • drinkypoo, be honest.

                    Okay.

                    It essentially all gets released back in mature forests.

                    Wrong.

                    Do you think that which doesn't goes somewhere magical?

                    No, it's called topsoil. Maybe you should study up before you continue demonstrating your ignorance. Or are you just counting on my not responding? I now have done.

                    There isn't new coal being created by trees at the moment, that we've seen, at any significant rate.

                    Your logical fallacy is attacking a straw man.

    • by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Friday April 17, 2015 @09:33AM (#49493305) Journal

      Trees. Quit cutting them down. Plant more. Problem solved.

      Strangely enough, at least in North America, we've planted more trees than we've cut down, and have done so for around what, 100 years now? ( By way of example, here in Oregon, loggers are required by law to plant anywhere from 3-5new trees** for each one they cut down, and they have to survive for at least a year after planting.)

      Mind you, this doesn't speak for the third world (where firewood for heat and cooking is an actual thing, farming is a growth industry, not to mention the exotic hardwood cutting), and definitely doesn't speak for Europe and Asia (where the former has few forests left, and the latter is largely ignored and therefore unregulated for the most part).

      ** the number depends on soil quality, slope, and other factors, but it's at least 3.

      • by aitikin ( 909209 )

        Mind you, this doesn't speak for the third world (where firewood for heat and cooking is an actual thing, farming is a growth industry, not to mention the exotic hardwood cutting), and definitely doesn't speak for Europe and Asia (where the former has few forests left, and the latter is largely ignored and therefore unregulated for the most part).

        Bob Taylor has done some wonderful work in making the "exotic hardwood cutting" sustainable [taylorguitars.com]. It's incredible what would happen before.

        • It's encouraging that Taylor gets it, but the real problem is going to be convincing the the guitarists and violinists; there is a lot of superstitions involved in luthiery and especially in the classical markets. Currently most ebony available for reasonable priced instruments has had a coat of Lincoln black shoe dye [shoeshineexpress.com] applied to it, [fiddlehangout.com] but admitting it publicly would kill your market. Everyone who considers themselves an elite performer is going to think that B grade Ebony is OK for the masses, but they'll get

      • by abies ( 607076 ) on Friday April 17, 2015 @10:27AM (#49493749)

        Europe and Asia (where the former has few forests left [...]

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... [wikipedia.org]
        Canada and the United States 26%
        European Union 35%

        And from
        http://wdi.worldbank.org/table... [worldbank.org]
        Europe it was 36.5% in 200 and 37.9% in 2012.

        Not sure how good these statistics are, because it says 'Canada &United States = 26%' and then 'Canada =31%' and 'USA= 30.84%'... In any case, Europe has more forest area atm and amount of forest is growing rather than decreasing.

        Or did you mean Europe has few forests left compared to situation from 2000 years ago? I can agree with that, but I don't think that global warming is THAT old - we used to have some mini ice age in meantime I think...

        • That's an interesting Wiki page. But I'm afraid those figures say almost nothing about the actual number of trees or forest density in those countries.
          For example, Spain has a higher forest area percentage than Germany, 36% vs 31%. Not sure what counts as "forest area" though, because while it is true that Spain has more untouched wilderness than Germany, most of the land is dry with very sparse tree density. In contrast, Germany has mostly moist, rich land and very dense forests. By these accounts I wouldn

        • So, on that wiki article it says the percent of forested land area, by country is:
          Canada: 3,101,340 km2 forested which is 31.06%
          USA: 3,030,890 km2 forested which is 30.84%

          But then Canada and USA combined is: 4,680,000 km2 or 26.00%

          Obviously something is quite wrong with that article.

          • There are two main sources on that page for forest numbers - the World Bank and an About.Com page. The World Bank numbers are what are being used for the individual countries. The US + Canada number is a misreading of the About.com page, which is about the entire North American continent (including Mexico). The About.com page gets its data from the UN Food and Agriculture (FOA) Forestry site, which uses a different method of determining forest cover as they are primarily concerned about forests as an agricu

        • Interesting, but the important question is how much possible forest land is forested? About 1/3 of the US is desert and the top 1/3 of Canada is tundra. I don't think the EU has nearly as much as either. But I won't deny the good news that forests in those two continents are somewhere in the neighborhood of sustainable these days....

        • The referenced source [theguardian.com] from the wiki lists all the countries by their forested area (in thousand hectares), and in a handy spreadsheet no less. Add in the square km of the countries and you can calculate the percentages:

          Country - percent - forested - total
          Canada - 31.1% - 3,101,340 - 9,984,670
          United States - 33.1% - 3,030,890 - 9,147,593
          EU - 36.0% - 1,577,190 - 4,381,376

          Austria - 46.1% - 38,620 - 83,855
          Belgium - 21.8% - 6,670 - 30,528
          Bulgaria - 32.7% - 36,250 - 110,994
          Croatia - 37.7% - 21,
      • Mind you, this doesn't speak for the third world (where firewood for heat and cooking is an actual thing, farming is a growth industry, not to mention the exotic hardwood cutting), and definitely doesn't speak for Europe and Asia (where the former has few forests left, and the latter is largely ignored and therefore unregulated for the most part).

        The Third World doesn't burn the wood for cooking/heat. It's cut and processed either to expand the agricultural frontier so more soybean can be grown and exported to the First World or to make paper in factories the First World bans and get relocated here.

      • by mspohr ( 589790 )

        After you've clear cut an area, it only makes sense to try to restore it but the reality is that you can never put it back the way it was...
        Plant 3-5 new trees (each weighing less than a pound) to replace a 20,000 pound tree is a joke. After 20 or 50 years, these trees might grow enough to begin to replace the carbon sequestration of the tree you cut down but don't delude yourself into thinking that this is a solution. It's still best to just not cut down the trees in the first place.

        • by dwye ( 1127395 )

          If you burn the 20,000 pound tree after cutting it, then your complaint is valid. If, in an extreme example, you bury it in the Thames as pilings for the Roman bridge in Londonium (most are still down there) while the 3-5 new trees are growing (and sequestering) you are doing much better than leaving a huge tree to rot and hollow out.

          Anyway, the high tech "solution" in the article is must better at sequestration than a mere tree, more than an order of magnitude better. The trick is whether it can scale to

      • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday April 17, 2015 @11:26AM (#49494275) Homepage Journal

        Strangely enough, at least in North America, we've planted more trees than we've cut down

        What we care about is not forested area, although it's relevant to weather patterns, but forest mass. Older trees put on mass faster than young trees [treehugger.com], and most of a plant's non-water mass is carbon from the air [brynmawr.edu]. Strangely enough, this simple fact seems to go mostly ignored in discussions about global climate and carbon, and I have to bring it up in literally every discussion on this subject here on Slashdot. I can use the karma, but I'd prefer that more of you land-rape apologists would wake up and smell the burning.

        • You're right, of course. However, forest mass is loosely correlated with forest area, and the latter is simpler for people to grok, lest the conversation devolve into people saying: "Ha! What happens when the tree you planted dies?! All that carbon back in the atmosphere!"
      • Unfortunately the majority of trees that we've planted are a monoculture meant to grow quickly and be harvested again for either pulp or timber. I've seen the result of clear cutting on the hills on Vancouver Island and it's terrible. Nothing living was left. Everything was brown with no green at all. Granted this was about twenty years ago but I doubt that things have changed except that they have gotten more efficient at it.

    • by gtall ( 79522 ) on Friday April 17, 2015 @09:34AM (#49493321)

      That's not sophisticated enough. The problem is we're taking eons of sequestered carbon and dumping it into the atmosphere all at once. Trees only sequester carbon for about 100 before they're broken down into CO2 and other stuff again. Think of it as time dilated burning. And planting the world over with trees cannot possibly capture all the sequestered CO2 we're dumping.

      • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday April 17, 2015 @11:32AM (#49494361) Homepage Journal

        Trees only sequester carbon for about 100 before they're broken down into CO2 and other stuff again.

        It's not even that simple. The percentage of carbon which is released instead of being fixed into the soil is related to the rate at which decomposition occurs. However, even tropical rain forests are net carbon sinks. As well, when you harvest timber and build things out of it, you keep the carbon fairly well-sequestered, at least until the wood gets successfully attacked by a fungus or set on fire, etc etc. But mature trees fix more carbon than young trees [nature.com], further complicating the issue. The truth is that planting the world over with trees is no substitute for not having cut them down in the first place, and no amount of wishing will make it so. That's not an argument against replanting, just an argument against any further cutting of old growth. It should simply not be permitted, unless those trees absolutely will fail regardless — and soon.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      "...solar-powered green chemistry using sequestered carbon dioxide."

      Trees. Quit cutting them down. Plant more. Problem solved.

      Actually, cutting down trees is a great way to optimize carbon storage, as long as new trees are planted to replace the ones cut down. It clears space for new trees, which grow faster and eat more carbon when they are young. The cut wood keeps the carbon locked up and is a useful building material. As long as the cut wood keeps the carbon in solid form it isn't going to affect the atmosphere.

      I've actually seen plans where cut wood is dumped to the bottom of the ocean where it won't decay, then replanted

      • With Peak Fossil Fertilizers and population growth it might not be such a good idea to put all those nutrients on the bottom of the ocean. You need to sequester the carbon without too much other valuable stuff.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        "...solar-powered green chemistry using sequestered carbon dioxide."

        Trees. Quit cutting them down. Plant more. Problem solved.

        Actually, cutting down trees is a great way to optimize carbon storage, as long as new trees are planted to replace the ones cut down.

        Nope [nature.com]

        • That article just says that old forests capture more carbon than was initially thought. They initially thought they captured none; that really isn't a high bar to get over. Young forest still capture more than old forests.

      • by moeinvt ( 851793 )

        Yes, you have to prevent them from oxidizing somehow. Dumping them in water or burying them raises a lot of questions though. Would the operation of cutting them down and either digging deep holes to bury them or transporting them to the ocean to be weighted down and dumped be carbon negative? The market need for building materials is presumably being filled with current operations, so I don't think you could store much additional carbon that way. Many logging operations also re-plant.

        I wonder if someth

        • by Filter ( 6719 )

          I heard an idea that seems too simple and cheap to actually ever try but, if we do ever need to sequester carbon from the atmosphere, the proposed solution is to cut the trees and convert them to charcoal by pyrolysis, then bury the charcoal, of course plant new trees and repeat.

        • Biochar [wikipedia.org] puts carbon in the soil, improves the soil, sometimes dramatically, and keeps it there for mostly likely millennia.

      • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday April 17, 2015 @11:34AM (#49494395) Homepage Journal

        Actually, cutting down trees is a great way to optimize carbon storage, as long as new trees are planted to replace the ones cut down. It clears space for new trees, which grow faster and eat more carbon when they are young.

        What? [treehugger.com] I say, what [nature.com] did you say, son? A quick google search would have proven you wrong, but you didn't even do that. Or, you know, having paid attention to any of these discussions here on slashdot in ages, since I bring this point up every time we have one. I haven't been bothering with links and citations until now, but nobody has asked so I didn't feel it was important since I'm not the only person who knows how to use google, am I? I don't want to fall into the trap of thinking I'm smarter than everyone, but I have this sneaking suspicion that I've been giving the average slashdotter way too much credit — and it wasn't that much, in my estimation.

      • by smugfunt ( 8972 )

        I've actually seen plans where cut wood is dumped to the bottom of the ocean

        What a great idea! We could weight it down with gold or uranium or something.

        Or we could build furniture, houses or other long lasting useful stuff out of the good timber and use the charcoal made with the rest to improve the soil.

    • by dave420 ( 699308 )

      And when the tree dies? Or stops eating up as much CO2 as it did when it started growing? That's the problem with pithy one-line answers to complicated questions - they're usually wrong, and make the giver look rather foolish :)

      We need something far better than trees to store CO2 simply because we produce so much of it.

      • by mspohr ( 589790 )

        I think you've hit on the problem. We do need to stop producing so much CO2. We need to stop digging up fossil fuels and burning them. We need to leave fossil CO2 in the ground. We can switch to renewables (solar, wind, etc.) and replace most of our fossil fuel consumption and the faster we do that, the less damage from fossil CO2.

    • No with trees you need to cut them down and harvest the wood. If used in durable goods it becomes a very effective method for sequestering carbon. If you really want to go for long term sequestration then dig a giant hole [google.com] and then fill it so there is a giant pile of harvested trees and then cover it with dirt.
      • by itzly ( 3699663 )

        It seems awfully counterproductive to dig two holes, and take carbon (coal) out of one hole and put other carbon (wood) in the other one. Instead, you could just burn the wood, and dig up a little less coal.

        • Well if we already have a hole and excess wood.
          • by itzly ( 3699663 )

            We don't have a hole, and we don't have much excess wood. The holes we get from mining coal are typically filled with the overburden.

        • Bingo. The primary problem isn't that we're producing too much CO2, it's that we're putting Carbon that has been out of the cycle for a very long time back into it. If we source our carbon from the cycle, we're not adding anything to it. Whether that can be done is anyone's guess, but we need to stop adding carbon back into the cycle, otherwise we will *never* find magical ways to sequester it. That coal comes from a time when the entire damn planet was covered in trees. It can't be that way again. One hole
    • It's hard to get anything out of the trees without cutting them down and releasing the carbon dioxide. Also, trees are hard to grow on top of buildings.

      It's OK-- most of the people commenting below didn't read the article either.

    • Better look out, Monsanto (aka Umbrella Corporation IRL), will probably find some way of patenting tree DNA, then sue the fuck out of everyone who has trees on their land.

      ..but all bullshitting aside: Mod parent up to 'Score:9.99E+36, Ultimate Truth'. Stop cutting down trees, plant MORE trees, do it NOW.
    • by zmooc ( 33175 )

      Actually, cutting them down and storing the wood (call it a house or paper) while letting a new tree grow in its place would be much more effective at taking CO2 out of the loop than not cutting them down.

    • solar-powered green chemistry using sequestered carbon dioxide

      Sorry to disappoint you. A forest is carbon neutral. It produces as much CO2 as it consumes. Your suggestion will have no impact on CO2 removed from the air.

      • Sorry to disappoint you, but a car is carbon neutral as well. It produces as much carbon as it consumes.

        Come on, dude. Certainly you understand that the addition of a forest where previously there was not is a carbon sink, and even if that new sink is neutral, it still represents a net decrease of unsequestered carbon floating around in the fscking atmosphere?
        • but a car is carbon neutral as well. It produces as much carbon as it consumes

          You really need to share some of the drugs you are taking. They must be awesome. So, what kind of photosynthesis does a car do?

          the addition of a forest where previously there was not is a carbon sink

          Yes, for a little while. In the fastest growing period. Once the forest is somewhat established, the rotting processes etc in that forest will produce as much carbon as the forest consumes. Sure, the growth stage is semi-long in human terms, but it is both far too slow and far too inefficient to do anything about our current emissions.

          As for cars, putting any kind of restrictions on

          • You really need to share some of the drugs you are taking. They must be awesome. So, what kind of photosynthesis does a car do?

            It of course doesn't, but you knew that.
            However, you feed it carbon, and it spits it back out. In, out. No sequestration of carbon. Neutral.
            Building a trillion cars adds 0 carbon to the carbon cycle, only adds steps to the cycle. It's the extraction of carbon from outside of the cycle that is not neutral.
            This is unlike a tree, which takes atmospheric carbon, and builds this stuff called wood out of it.
            Sequestration.

            Yes, for a little while. In the fastest growing period. Once the forest is somewhat established, the rotting processes etc in that forest will produce as much carbon as the forest consumes. Sure, the growth stage is semi-long in human terms, but it is both far too slow and far too inefficient to do anything about our current emissions.

            You still miss the point. Sure the forest becomes carbon neutral. Who cares. A car is car

  • From TFA (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    It appears to convert into acetate as opposed to capturing in acetate

    "However, this new artificial photosynthetic system synthesizes the combination of carbon dioxide and water into acetate, the most common building block today for biosynthesis."

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The Earth is reeling from the assault of the toxic gas. Massive storms sweep across the countryside, dropping H2O onto land that should be dry. Invasive life forms called plants explode in numbers, using the toxic gas as fuel to spur their growth. This in turn spurs the growth of other life forms, called animals, that use the plants as fuel to spur their growth. The atosphere warms, tipping the earth perilously closer to the conditions seen in the carboniferous period, when the invasive life forms becam
  • Initiate countdown, T -60 years to "Oh my god, we're pulling too much CO2 out of the atmosphere! Plants are having a tough time growing! And it's getting too cold -- people are skating on the canals of Amsterdam again!"

    A sarcasm or a prediction? You decide.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 17, 2015 @09:47AM (#49493441)

      In the future we won't need to worry, Systemd will properly attenuate global C02 levels to ensure optimum balance between human survival and the needs of other species.

    • A sarcasm or a prediction? You decide.

      Either it's sarcasm or you're an idiot, because it's easy to release carbon. What's hard is putting it back in the bottle.

      I will choose to believe that you were being sarcastic, because it will make me feel better about the world I live in.

      • Either it's sarcasm or you're an idiot, because it's easy to release carbon. What's hard is putting it back in the bottle.

        No what's hard is convincing people that what was happening 18 years ago isn't happening now.

        The IPCC AR5 notes the lack of warming since 1998:

        [T]he rate of warming over the past 15 years (1998–2012) [is] 0.05 [–0.05 to +0.15] C per decade)which is smaller than the rate calculated since 1951 (1951–2012) [of] 0.12 [0.08 to 0.14] C per decade. IPCC AR5 weakens the case for AGW [judithcurry.com]

        OMG is that actually a negative warming in the range of possibilities reported by the IPCC?

  • How often CO2 is blamed on burning of fossil fuels, I often get gobsmacked by how many people forget plants breathe CO2 and release O2 yet no one ever correlates the increase to deforestation of rain forests. Possibly 1 is not enough to merit the change on it's own, but the two combined could account for the increase of CO2, not enough plants and trees in the rain forests to scrub the atmos of CO2 fast enough.

    I recall in the 70's and 80's it was ozone, at some point we shifted and now it's CO2.
    • Re:Amazes me (Score:5, Informative)

      by itzly ( 3699663 ) on Friday April 17, 2015 @09:31AM (#49493281)

      yet no one ever correlates the increase to deforestation of rain forests.

      They do. Deforestation is a well known part of the CO2 problem. But fossil fuels are a bigger part.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        yet no one ever correlates the increase to deforestation of rain forests.

        They do. Deforestation is a well known part of the CO2 problem. But fossil fuels are a bigger part.

        True, and here is your citation. [epa.gov].

    • Re:Amazes me (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 17, 2015 @09:39AM (#49493373)

      We can very easily attribute what degree of co2 increase is due to fossil fuels because co2 from fossil fuels has a isotopic signature:

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/print.php?r=384

      In the 70s and 80s ozone was the big concern, and we changed some of the chemicals we use in our products because of it.

      Now as we have learned more and as the world has changed there is a new concern.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      And we are gobsmacked by your simplemindedness. And it's means it is.

    • Re:Amazes me (Score:4, Informative)

      by dave420 ( 699308 ) on Friday April 17, 2015 @10:51AM (#49493925)

      Just as many are gobsmacked by those who assume they know all there is to know about the issues surrounding global warming, and then use their stilted, malformed knowledge of the subject to condemn those who take a more rational, rigorous approach as being hoaxers or charlatans or whatever other pejorative springs limply to mind...

      Ozone was a different problem, which has been largely alleviated by international action.

      You really should brush up on your knowledge before proudly telling everyone just how little you know.

    • You know why ozone (presumably you're referring to the ozone hole) isn't a problem today? Because the international community agreed to address it and its fucking FIXED (fixed enough anyway). If you meant ground level ozone, we got you covered there too. Tougher emissions standards and the ensuing cleaner vehicles have significantly reduced ground level ozone in the past 30 years.

      Yes deforestation is a problem but the CO2 we're currently releasing from coal is coming from a bank of 50 Million Years worth o

  • Efficiency (Score:4, Informative)

    by itzly ( 3699663 ) on Friday April 17, 2015 @09:33AM (#49493301)

    With this approach, the Berkeley team achieved a solar energy conversion efficiency of up to 0.38-percent for about 200 hours under simulated sunlight, which is about the same as that of a leaf.

    That's lousy. It may be a breakthrough for this particular field, but compared to regular PV panels, it sucks. It would be much smarter to keep the carbon in the ground, and set up more photovoltaics instead.

    • by dave420 ( 699308 )
      It shows it's possible. No-one was expecting the early versions would magically appear fully-formed and ready for market... I mean, apart from you, it seems ;)
      • by itzly ( 3699663 )

        I wasn't expecting anything up to this point, but both the article and summary do a good job of raising the expectations, by using terms as "game changing breakthrough". It may be a breakthrough, but it's not changing any games just yet.

  • .. mining , transporting and refining the ores required to create these nanowire arrays and the surrouding support material for them and the bacteria compared to the amount they sequester before they need replacing? Its a rather important fact to know.

    • by dave420 ( 699308 )

      Wow! With your half-thought-out idea you have overturned their entire field of research! Amazing! It's simply staggering that no-one thought of this before! Quick! To the rooftops!

      Or, just maybe, they know more than you. I know, it's a concept you have difficulty accepting.

      • by itzly ( 3699663 )

        Wow! With your half-thought-out idea you have overturned their entire field of research!

        What idea ? It was just a question.

      • by Viol8 ( 599362 )

        You ever considered reading a post properly before replying? Try it, you never know, it might make you look less of a bell-end.

    • Well most of the vehicles used in mining are electric drive so does it really matter what the generation source is behind them? Also the ball mills and other equipment typically involved in refining the ore don't seem to really care where their electrons come from either.
  • by MrVictor ( 872700 ) on Friday April 17, 2015 @10:40AM (#49493843)
    If I am understanding TFA correctly, this would be more aptly titled "solar powered electrolysis apparatus to feed oxygen to acetate-secreting bacteria on a nano-wire substrate". Bad science journalism. This will not save the world.
  • why don't we just use the energy collected by the nanowires, in the first place?
    because if you think about it, to end the increase of CO2 we're going to need to synthesize as much carbon into acetate as we are burning coal; which means we're going to need the nanowire system to produce at least as much energy as the coal burning is releasing.

It isn't easy being the parent of a six-year-old. However, it's a pretty small price to pay for having somebody around the house who understands computers.

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