“A Space Elevator for Carbon Dioxide”

No, not really, but I liked the title 🙂  The author is talking about an idea of UCLA physicist Alfred Wong to use a laser to alter CO2 molecules so that they would leave the earth’s atmosphere at the pole’s , i.e. creating a “Space Elevator” so that our excess CO2 would be dumped into space.

Other than the title, the link this posting has to a “real” space elevator is an email sent to me by reader Howard Katseff over a year ago, where he wondered if somehow a Space Elevator “tube” could be used to funnel a power plant’s emissions into space.  The problem with this idea (and with Alfred Wong’s proposal) is just the sheer mass of CO2 we spew into the atmosphere.  According to a couple of websites I’ve looked at, we, as a planet, generate well over 20 million metric tons of CO2 each and every DAY.  That’s a lot of gassified dry ice, more than we can deal with via Space Elevator tubes or lasers.

There’s another issue too.  Are we so sure we want to get rid of this stuff?  We, as a species, might need it some day.  It would be hell to have thrown it all away and then find out that we need it to solve another global problem…  Conservation, sequestration and zero-emission power plant and vehicles – I think that’s the only way to go (IMHO)…

(Photo credit: Nick Russill)

1 thought on ““A Space Elevator for Carbon Dioxide”

  1. Michael Laine

    the OTHER problem with the ‘pump it to space’ idea is that gravity will pull it back down. how do you pump a gas up and out of the tube? as soon as it reaches the top, it will begin to fall (like anything else will), unless the ‘tube’ reaches all the way to GEO… then you will begin to make a ‘ring’ around the earth, same as with other planets…

    take care. mjl

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