A Startup Is Engineering Trees to Grow Faster and Capture More Carbon

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A company called Living Carbon is engineering trees that can capture and store more carbon than typical trees. The company plans to share more details about the technology later in the year, but it builds on previous research, including years of work from other scientists looking at how to enhance photosynthesis in other plants. For a tree, faster growth means that it can take up more CO2. Living Carbon is also developing a second innovation for the trees that slows the rate that the tree decomposes; the process will enable trees to take up copper and nickel, which act as fungicides. (Fungi speed the decomposition of wood, leading to loss of CO2.)


Sounds like one of those things that can go horribly wrong because of some unforeseen circumstance.


Mankind again trying to “engineer” complex natural systems for profit, instead of fixing the source of the problem. What could go wrong?


Mixed feelings about this. The science side of me says, that’s so cool! The environmental side of me says, that’s so sad that we GMO trees so that we can keep on trashing the place.


The main concern with growing trees rapidly is ensuring that the wood fibers can support themselves as the grow. We’re already able to manipulate environments and trees to allow them to grow unnaturally fast. The main problem is that when the tree is juvenile the main stem could fall over and not self correct leading to alot of shrubby looking stands