Accelerating Future Transhumanism, AI, nanotech, the Singularity, and extinction risk.


Diamond Trees (Tropostats): A Molecular Manufacturing Based System for Compositional Atmospheric Homeostasis

Robert Freitas has a new idea for a product that could be built using molecular manufacturing -- diamond trees designed to sequester carbon dioxide. The concept is fleshed out in technical detail at a paper now available at the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing website. Let's bring up that abstract!

The future technology of molecular manufacturing will enable long-term sequestration of atmospheric carbon in solid diamond products, along with sequestration of lesser masses of numerous air pollutants, yielding pristine air worldwide ~30 years after implementation. A global population of 143 x 109 20-kg “diamond trees” or tropostats, generating 28.6 TW of thermally non-polluting solar power and covering ~0.1% of the planetary surface, can create and actively maintain compositional atmospheric homeostasis as a key step toward achieving comprehensive human control of Earth’s climate.

On the topic of MNT, I also wonder what it will take for the skeptics to become convinced that the technology is plausible. Positional atomic placement has already been demonstrated, including at room temperature. Will complex rotating 3D nanosystems convince them? I doubt those are far off.

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  1. I’ve got a better idea, use molecular manufacturing technology to make lighter vehicles and better batteries. Then replace all petrochemicals with solar and wind power.

    While working on that also work on processes to draw down carbon via natural processes. For example we know that adding iron oxide to water stimulates the growth of marine plant life, so maybe we could stimulate the growth of plankton that will sink and take carbon to the floor of the oceans (similar to the way the carbon deposits are believed to have formed millions of years ago to make what is now oil).

    But the most important thing is to start right now. There should be no more construction of coal power plants and brown coal should be phased out as an urgent matter. It’s just cheaper and easier to do it this way.

    The problem of climate change has never been a lack of technology so new technology is not going to magically solve it. The problem is that too many people are making too much money from polluting the world and they pay the politicians to not make them stop.

  2. The problem of climate change is actually that it is in no way being caused by man, and we should all divert our attention to something more immediate and useful, say… finding a cure for cancer? Solving 3rd world poverty?

  3. While the technology is probably feasible, ‘drawing down’ carbon dioxide is a bad thing for plants…and for the animals who live on those plants….and for the animals who prey on the animals who live on those plants.

    Look at both sides of an issue, kids. Examine the evidence and try not to blindly follow the latest scientific fad.

  4. Simon: The vast majority of scientists who have researched the matter and the vast majority of peer reviewed papers that have been published in related fields disagree with you. Don’t listen to a geologist who’s talking about atmospheric science – particularly if he works for the oil or coal industry.

    Warren: Returning to the level of CO2 that was in the air 50+ years ago seems like a good thing. The plants that are useful to us never had any problems with that. While increased levels of CO2 do make plants grow a little faster, a lack of water really stunts their growth as does being under water for coastal plants.

    Currently climate change has made large areas of farmland useless and it’s causing some coastal areas to be abandoned.

  5. Where on the Earth a coastal area has been abandoned due to the sea rise, Russell Coker?

    And why the sea does not obey the old law anymore? It should rise everywhere or nowhere.


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