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Liquid Trees: An Urban Solution?

For areas with little greenery and a problem with air pollution, could liquid trees be a solution?

Trees are one of our top resources for maintaining our environment, from preventing soil erosion to keeping our air clean. But, in the concrete jungles of many downtowns including Kansas City, incorporating trees can be challenging.

algaeEnter the liquid tree, a powerful photobioreactor. The liquid tree, developed by author and Ph.D. in Biophysical sciences, Dr. Ivan Spasojevic, is a 160-gallon clear tank filled with water and microalgae. While the tank behaves the same as a tree, converting carbon dioxide to oxygen, its overall efficiency is much higher. One single liquid tree can match the job of two fifteen-year-old trees.

Upkeep for liquid trees is minimal, requiring the occasional removal of biomass that can later be used as fertilizer.

One downside to the liquid tree is its appearance. It’s hard to match the aesthetic beauty a tree brings to a city walkway. Perhaps there is a way for artists and scientists to collaborate on a design that’s not only functional but also pleasing to the eye.

Don’t expect liquid trees to completely replace trees. Their implementation should be targeted at areas where planting and growing healthy trees is very difficult. Currently, only a few tanks have been installed in Serbia, the country where it was designed, but it may start to catch on throughout the world as air pollution becomes a greater threat to urban living.

Would you support the Kansas City metro area installing liquid trees?

For more information about the liquid tree. visit LIQUID3 – Urban Photo-Bioreactor.