Your future air conditioner might do way more than just cool your house
About 1.6 billion AC units hum on the planet today. By 2050, that number will likely swell to over 5 billion.
Roland Dittmeyer, an engineer at Germany’s Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, sees a lot of potential here. AC units, especially in big residential or commercial buildings, suck in masses of air, sometimes all day long. In a paper published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, Dittmeyer and a team of researchers propose that AC units be employed for a dual purpose: gulping the potent heat-trapping gas carbon dioxide out of the air while also cooling homes and offices.
It’s a relevant innovation to consider. Modern civilization has a giant CO2 problem. Carbon dioxide levels are the highest they’ve been in millions of years. And, critically, the rate of CO2 increase in the last 50 years isn’t just unprecedented in human history — it’s unprecedented in the geologic record. If global society intends to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, slashing CO2 emissions means attacking the problem on a number of fronts: transportation, power, industry, and even sucking carbon out of the air. Read more…