Concern about how carbon emissions affect the environment and the need to find long-term solutions to lessen their consequences has grown in recent years.
More than 2,000 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide have been released into the atmosphere by people since the Industrial Revolution and the effects of climate change that we are already witnessing, are brought on by the accumulation of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses therefore, the use of substances that absorb carbon emissions has become a popular potential remedy.
Top 5 materials that absorb carbon emissions
The following are some of the best materials able to absorb carbon emissions.
A natural fungal material called mycelium has recently been investigated as a potential building material. It is a rapidly expanding matrix with the capacity to serve as a natural adhesive.
The promotion of mycelium composites was due to the quest for alternative building materials with a smaller environmental impact.
Mycelium is being used by startups, including the London-based Biohm, to make building insulators that are naturally fire-resistant and absorb “at least 15 to 20 tonnes of carbon every month” as it grows.
Furthermore, the root systems of some plants also can be multiplied a thousand-fold by some forms of mycelium, and in return, they can receive up to 70% of the carbon that the plant produces, according to Kelly. “Since that carbon remains in the soil for almost forever, this is crucial for carbon capture.
Sand, gravel, water, cement, and other materials are frequently used to make concrete. Even though cement solidifies concrete by reacting with water, it also produces a significant amount of carbon dioxide during production.
Therefore, a new type of concrete has been created that nearly eliminates CO2 emissions during manufacturing by using components that absorb carbon dioxide (CO2).
As of now, the procedure is dependent on industrial emissions that have been caught, which means that while it lessens the quantity of fresh emissions being released into the atmosphere, it does not lower atmospheric CO2. But, once the corporation uses direct air capture (DAC) to extract its CO2 from the atmosphere, the end product would be carbon-negative.
Carpet tiles are a type of flooring material that consists of modular squares of carpet. These tiles have gained popularity in recent years due to their versatility, ease of installation, and environmental benefits, including their ability to store carbon.
One of the most significant environmental benefits of carpet tiles is their ability to store carbon. Carpet tiles are made from fibers that come from plants, which absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow. The carbon footprint of Interface’s carpet tiles has been cut by 74%, the company claims. Thus by utilizing materials more effectively, which has included raising the proportion of recycled and bio-based components.
When these fibers are used in carpet tiles, they continue to store carbon, making carpet tiles a carbon-storing material.
From tree to gate, wood has zero carbon emissions. This indicates that less carbon dioxide is emitted than has been absorbed from the time the lumber leaves the forest, when additional trees are planted, through its transportation, and even during its installation on site.
Trees utilize the method known as photosynthesis to combine carbon dioxide and sunlight to produce wood. Nearly a tonne of carbon dioxide is “sequestered” from the atmosphere by every cubic meter of wood that is grown. Over 2.5 billion tons of co2 emissions are absorbed globally by forests.
Particularly in tropical forests that continue to be affected by deforestation. Which is primarily caused by the land being converted to agricultural uses, responsible, resourceful and sustainable forest management are crucial if trees are to fulfill their potential as a form of storing and capturing carbon.
Read also: Advantages and disadvantages of wood as building material
A form of plastic known as bioplastics are produced using renewable resources like corn, sugarcane, or potato starch. They are an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional plastics, which are made from non-renewable resources like petroleum.
Traditional plastics are made from petroleum, which is a fossil fuel that releases carbon dioxide (CO2) when it is burned. Bioplastics, on the other hand, are made from renewable resources that absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow. This means that bioplastics have a lower carbon footprint than traditional plastics.
Although, when a bioplastic product is disposed of and decomposes, the carbon in the bioplastic goes back into the atmosphere. However, if bioplastics are properly disposed, they can store carbon for a longer period.
The future of carbon absorption
The development of materials that absorb carbon emissions is an important step toward mitigating the impact of climate change. While each of the materials mentioned above has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, they all have the potential to make a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. And, preserving the environment for future generations.
As research in this field continues to evolve, it is likely that even more effective materials. And technologies will be developed in the coming years.
The key question is whether these methods can remove carbon at the scale that will be required in the coming decades.
Read also: The 5 major carbon emitting and polluting industries worldwide