End of the Line – Where does the Carbon go?

First plans for stage 1 was to build a duckweed device that would grow harvest and dehydrate the duckweed. Dehydrating would serve two purposes One would be to allow measurement of carbon content without the extra water. The second would be to put it on a form that is storable and not broken back down into CO2.

The objective for this March is to create a personal aquaponics system that will provide maintenance free indoor greenspace (just add water). The next step will be a personal sequestering system that will storeĀ the harvested carbon for longer term. There are large multi-million dollar demonstration projects that are doing this but there has been no attempt to scale the process down to a smaller format that can be more easily replicated and distributed. (under Links you can see universities building artificial trees.)

Aquaponics system

To maintain balance in the nitrogen cycle for plant growth, I’m going to try putting two water trays and goldfish. It will be a mini-aquaponics system. The question will be if it’s sustainable and relatively maintenance free.

Multidisciplinary

At peril of being banned from LinkedIn discussion groups I posted to many.

I guess it’s from my Systems Design background that this project is multidisciplinary in nature. Our motto at school was “Jack of all trades, master of none”

Why the qualities of this project fit in each discussion group:

Automation: AnĀ Internet of Things (IoT) appliance. How this project started.

SCADA: Cloud datalogging. Storage and retrieval for display. What I do for a living.

Nanotechnology: Can we convert CO2 to C and O2 with only sunlight and no water? Yes I can access thin film technology at NRC in Ottawa but I’m open to any suggestions.

Rotary: Fundraising. Public service. Past president Rotary Club of Agincourt

Innovation: Dream the improbable

The Carbon Cycle

Simplistically, plants use carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, create hydrocarbons and expel oxygen. Animals use oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. There are many other organisms and mechanisms that produce greenhouse gases. In fact, most plants respire and produce carbon dioxide during the night while laying down new roots. So the carbon cycle should be steady state. The problem with fossil fuels is we’re releasing carbon that was stored thousands of years ago. There is a measurable increase of atmospheric CO2 which will not dissipate easily.

The goal of Carbon Block is to create new carbon sinks that will sequester more carbon than it will expel.

Larger Plants

After growing duckweed for a couple weeks, I’m thinking of moving the system to hydroponics so I can grow larger plants. It looks like I need to periodic run a water pump to maintain clear water. The water may as well filter through some rockwool or vermiculite growing plants. Algae and duckweed are listed as some of the top 10 fastest growing plants but this doesn’t mean long term they will sequester the most carbon dioxide. Tomatoes or cucumber vines may sequester more carbon dioxide once they reach a mature growing phase.

This will require periodic replanting instead of duckweed where it proliferates readily and only requires periodic harvesting. Hydroponic planting media is extremely reusable. It only requires some rinsing out before re-seeding. Give me some feedback here or on Kickstarter on what you think.