A CO2-scrubbing artificial tree

Mario Caceres
09 Mar 2011

Glowing artificial trees by Influx_Studio and ShiftBoston could clean Boston's air

Humidity swing technology, developed by Dr Klaus Lackner (Lenfest Center at Columbia University), allows the energy-efficient capture of CO2 from air, closing the carbon cycle and creating a valuable product. Inspired by him, the Boston’s TREEPODS INIATIVE, lead by Influx_Studio and ShiftBoston, looks to help towards the achievement of Boston’s goals in carbon reduction programs.

The team suggests embodying and artificially enhancing the capacity of natural trees to clean the air. Treepods are not designed to replace natural trees, but to act like small air cleaning infrastructures, increasing in many times CO2 absorption. Biomimicry of the most unique trees in the world: taking inspiration from the Dragon Blood Tree, the TREEPOD imitates its umbrella shaped crown to optimise a canopy that provides a maximum of shading surface and that allows the wind flow.

Made from recycled materials, the TREEPOD creates a key canopy surface to provide shadow and that hosts photovoltaic towers to harvest enough energy to feed the filter system and the urban lighting function (a seesaw at its basis also harvests kinetic energy). The canopy branching structure multiplies the contact points between air and the CO2. Working like alveoli in a human lung, an alkaline and environmentally friendly resin reacts with air holding CO2.

When the CO2 saturated resin reacts with water it releases CO2 for storage, and then it could be used again in the same process. Based in its modular capacity it is able to reach different levels of assemblage and urban function, therefore Influx_Studio and ShiftBoston suggest the creation of a network of TREEPODS embracing the whole city of Boston.

A group of trees creates a great urban canopy, defining places to be, having a social role in the community, like an interactive interface, allowing people to interact with the tree and each other. The concept proposes that people could play and learn about de-carbonisation process, allowing people to be involved in the green agenda.

Key Facts

Product type
United States

Want to submit your project to World Architecture News?

Contact The Team