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These Lego-like bricks can store carbon for centuries

Published Jun 15th, 2024 9:20PM EDT
bricks stacked on top of each other
Image: Liliia / Adobe

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A Bill Gates-backed startup claims it could be one step closer to helping clean up air pollution. The solution? A new type of carbon-removing brick could help us store that pollution for years to come—perhaps even thousands of years.

The company behind the revolutionary new procedure is Graphyte. The company uses a “deceptively simple” method to create the bricks, which requires using blocks of wood chips and rice hulls. Some are already calling it a “game-changer” for fighting air pollution, as it helps overcome one of the biggest issues surrounding the industry: the cost.

Typical approaches to handling air pollution require between $600 to $1,200 per ton to capture carbon directly. However, with these carbon-removing bricks, Graphyte would be able to deliver a ton of the material for just $100. That’s a huge difference in cost, and it could make it much more affordable for companies to clean up air pollution going forward.

Heatwave Canada
Rising carbon levels are a huge factor in the ongoing climate change crisis. Image source: mbruxelle/Adobe

The entire process builds off of natural plant decay, which usually sees stored carbon released back into the atmosphere. This is one problem with the constant deforestation we’re seeing around the world, as before long, the trees we still have will not be enough to hold onto the carbon that we need them to hold onto.

But, if we take that carbon and capture it in carbon-removing bricks made of that plant matter, then store it deep underground, the air pollution should theoretically be captured for hundreds of years, with proper monitoring. It’s a huge leap forward—and a very bold claim that will take a lot to prove.

The company plans to bury 50,000 tons of the carbon-removing bricks within the next year. If successful, that will make it the largest carbon removal company in the world so far. Of course, only time will tell if this extremely simple answer actually holds under the weight of the company’s lofty goals.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.

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