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Carbon Farm


Jiabao Li, Ben J Evanson, Siyu Fang, Ceren Ozgen

Contribute the CO2 from your breath and speech to our Carbon Farm. We transform it into nourishment for thriving algae cultures. These algae are then processed into bioplastics, a bioplastic uniquely made from your breath.

Speak or breathe into our specialized CO2 collector. For those who wish to articulate their thoughts, we provide a range of prompts: excerpts from the Paris Climate Accord, highlighting our critical mission to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C within the next seven years; examples of corporate greenwashing with their catchy yet hollow phrases; or a space for personal confession on your carbon footprint. In real-time, you will see how much CO2 your breath or speech is emitting and how much algae can grow out of it. Our advanced direct air carbon capture and sequestration (DACCS) system will then take your CO2 through heating, spinning, bathing in chemicals, and finally turning it into nutrition for the algae.

To remove CO2, Carbon Farm(er) blows air over a chemical sorbent bed that forms a weak bond with CO2 molecules. This chemical bed is the widest part of the metal hourglass, and is where the CO2 you breathe into the system gets trapped! Like a sponge, this chemical eventually gets saturated, which then prompts our desorption cycle. In this state, the chemical is heated which has the effect of squeezing our chemical sponge, releasing concentrated CO2 which is more readily taken up by our algae. What matters most, though, is what we do with that algae, since algae left to decompose will be digested by microbes, re-releasing the carbon that we just stored.

In that vein, we harvest this algae regularly, converting it into eco-friendly, degradable bioplastics. In recognition of your contribution, you will receive an algae bioplastic badge with your last name. Moreover, our Carbon Farm also nurtures Spirulina, a nutrient-rich algae. This edible variant of your contributions is transformed into delectable culinary creations, served during our unique dining performances. It's a full-circle experience: your words and breath transformed into nourishment, returning to sustain you.

By contributing their CO2 to the Carbon Farm, participants are invited to reflect on their relationship with non-human living systems, the planet, the atmosphere, and their individual impact on climate change. Beyond its artistic value, the Carbon Farm serves a practical purpose as a household-scale carbon sequestration unit. Similar to the widespread adoption of rain catchers, the Carbon Farm could be implemented in homes to capture atmospheric CO2, converting it into edible algae-based snacks. However, it's important to note that carbon removal, in its current form, is not a comprehensive solution to climate change. Carbon removal is only useful in creating a net-neutral world if there are massive amounts of emissions mitigation from world leaders, companies, and consumers. Though a necessary tool, carbon removal cannot be used as an excuse by nations as a false panacea providing the moral ease of mind for our fossil fuel addiction. For perspective, one would need to capture every breath into the Carbon Farm for an entire year to offset the personal carbon footprint of a one-way cross-country flight in China.

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