Photosynthesis converts CO2 into sugars, can we industrialize this process?

  • Thread starter JDoolin
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JDoolin
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CO2 appears to create global warming, but is there a way to get rid of the CO2? Could we somehow industrialize the photosynthesis process to get rid of large amounts of CO2?

What sorts of issues prevent this solution?
 

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We don't necessarily know every step of photosynthesis?
 
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rcgldr
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Assuming this was possible, the O2 would go into the atmosphere, but where you put all the "waste" carbon, and what would you do with it (burning it would just get you back to where you started).
 
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CO2 appears to create global warming, but is there a way to get rid of the CO2? Could we somehow industrialize the photosynthesis process to get rid of large amounts of CO2?
Sure, all agriculture is industrialized photosynthesis. In order to fix the CO2, the only thing that you would have to do is to pull the biomass out of the environment. I recommend hardwood furniture and log homes for the purpose. The harder and denser the wood the better. It takes a lot of CO2 to make and, provided you don't burn it, it sequesters the carbon away from the environment for a very long time.

From a CO2 balance perspective cutting down a rainforest is actually not a bad thing. What is bad is burning the hardwood instead of using it and then not letting the forest re-grow.
 
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JDoolin
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I don't know exactly how well I can trust the numbers on the internet, but after a short search it sounds like burning 1 gallon of gasoline produces about 19.4 pounds of Carbon Dioxide, while burning 1 pound of wood produces about 1.5 pounds of carbon dioxide.

Does the latter statistic work in reverse; such that a growing tree will suck about 1.5 pounds of carbon-dioxide out of the air for each pound of hard wood it puts on?

I wonder how many acres of forests we would have to grow (and not burn) to balance the amount of carbon dioxide we produce.

A very rough calculation follows

Worldwide use of oil: 84 million barrels/year *42 gallons/barrel * 20 pounds of CO2 per gallon = 70 billion pounds of CO2

divide by 1.5, absorbed by growing 46 billion pounds of wood.

= 23 million tons of wood grown and not burned.

I'm not sure how that converts into cubic meters... One web-site estimated the worldwide harvest of wood to be around 3.5 billion cubic meters (3/4 of which is used for fuel.)

...or how it would convert into acres, or land-fills. I wonder if we could find use for 23 million tons of hardwood as furniture and houses per year, or if we would bury it. What happens if bugs get into it? Would they convert it right back into CO2?
 
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JDoolin
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