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Heinberg: Introducing TREES

Heinberg: Introducing TREES thumbnail

Scientists at the Climate/Energy Design and Research institute (CEDAR) have just announced the discovery of an astounding new energy source that promises to solve several of humanity’s thorniest dilemmas at once.

“This is a paradigm-shifting moment,” says Dawn O’Newday, the engineer in charge of the project. “Whatever your game is, this changes it. Big time.”

The new energy source, called TREES (Totally Renewable Energy, Emissions capture, and Storage) is, as the name suggests, completely renewable. Unlike conventional power plants, TREES devices use no fuel; and unlike most solar and wind technologies, TREES requires no non-renewable materials for the manufacture of panels or turbines.

Further, TREES devices are actually self-replicating, through a radical innovation known as SEEDS (Self-reproduction through Endo-Encrypted Data Simulation). Because each TREES device can make endless copies of itself without any mining or manufacturing cost, and because TREES captures abundant sunlight, this may be the first truly free energy source ever discovered by humanity.

On top of that, TREES offers built-in energy storage. The technology captures energy from sunlight in real time, then chemically converts it to an energy-preserving substance that is both useful and durable. In their energy storage mode, TREES devices can be fashioned into usable items like furniture, houses, paper, packaging, and—best of all—musical instruments. The storage capabilities of this technology are both large in scale and long-term: the technology’s developers project that TREES will be able to store energy for hundreds of years, while some individual devices will be able to preserve the energy equivalent of 3000 barrels of oil.

But the advantages of TREES technology don’t end there. As they capture and store energy, TREES devices actually remove carbon from the atmosphere. And again, they do this at no cost! No other carbon capture technology comes even close to this level of efficiency.

Some early critics of TREES technology have pointed out that the solar energy conversion efficiency of the process used (under ten percent) is relatively low as compared to that of the most advanced photovoltaic panels operating under laboratory conditions (46 percent). However, this comparison fails to take into account the tremendous cost differences between the two technologies. Taking cost, storage, and carbon capture into account, TREES represents a huge breakthrough over existing solar technologies and could lead to a much more rapid and broad-scale adoption of sunlight energy. Scientists who have been working on developing artificial photosynthesis devices report amazement that actual photosynthesis is possible at the scale and cost now possible with TREES.

Scientists at the CEDAR lab in Silicon Valley running tests on a TREES prototype.

The list of TREES capabilities and advantages goes on. Almost unbelievably, some versions of TREES devices actually produce food, again at no cost! And they do so without soil-destroying tillage. Scientists at CEDAR speculate that a wide variety of unique food items—valuable sources of protein, vitamins, and minerals—may one day be produced from TREES.

A hidden feature of TREES is its unique attachment technology, dubbed ROOTS (Regenerative Operant Outreach Tether Siphoning), which enables TREES to remain sturdily in place while actually preventing soil erosion.

Perhaps the most extraordinary aspect of this still-unfolding story of technological triumph is that engineers at CEDAR have developed TREES using open-source methods, making their amazing breakthrough freely available to anyone, anywhere.

Asked about the long-term implications of TREES, Justin Powers, a staff scientist working on the project, reflected philosophically that, “TREES may enable civilization to evolve to a new level. Currently we are dependent upon fossil fuels and all kinds of machines, including nuclear reactors and wind turbines—all made from depleting, non-renewable resources. If TREES technology takes off, as I’m sure it will, it may herald a new age in which human beings rely on energy they harvest at rates commensurate with natural processes, and in ways that don’t deplete or pollute the biosphere in any way. And on top of that, everything will be free, so there will be no more poverty or economic inequality.”

Post Carbon Institute

31 Comments on "Heinberg: Introducing TREES"

  1. James on Thu, 20th Aug 2015 6:34 am 

    Maybe HEMP instead. it will provide a surplus as it grows back, bunch 10-20 stalks together and you have the equivalent of a small tree. How billions of people can miss this is a mystery.

  2. Cloud9 on Thu, 20th Aug 2015 6:42 am 

    Haiti comes to mind. There is not enough timber in Florida to keep the lights own, run our trains and drive our vehicles. Having said that, I do believe coppicing and pollarding are in our future once populations rebound.

  3. Davy on Thu, 20th Aug 2015 7:23 am 

    I am a tree hugger. I love trees. I have some huge Oaks here on the farm. I am in the Missouri Ozarks that had an amazing ecosystem of huge trees until they were laid bare by the end of the 19th century. Much has regrown courtesy of fossil fuels. IMA one of the few side benefits of fossil fuels for my area. I am afraid depending on how the next crash comes that rape and pillage may happen again. I am not optimistic for trees because of the locust effect of desperate people combined with the nasty effects of climate destabilization. We are unfortunately in uncharted waters for the future of our forests and trees. I love them now. Every day I go out on the farm I enjoy them. I rarely cut a tree down unless it is dead or dying. Trees are my brothers and I worship them as gifts from the higher power.

  4. shortonoil on Thu, 20th Aug 2015 7:44 am 

    High on praise; short on specifics!

    Can they make it work (what ever it is) in the next 15 years? After that the TREES morph into WEEDS (World Energy Eradication & Destruction System).

  5. sunweb on Thu, 20th Aug 2015 7:53 am 

    written four years ago:
    An oak tree is renewable. A horse is renewable. They reproduce themselves. The human-made equipment used to capture solar energy or wind energy is not renewable. There is considerable fossil fuel energy embedded in this equipment. The many components used in devices to capture solar energy, wind energy, tidal energy and biomass energy – aluminum, glass, copper, rare metals, petroleum in many forms to name a few – are fossil fuel dependent.

    Wind used by sailing ships and old style “dutch” wind machines is renewable and sustainable.
    From: Energy in the Real World with pictures of proof.

  6. shortonoil on Thu, 20th Aug 2015 8:21 am 

    “An oak tree is renewable. A horse is renewable.”

    Phytoplankton is also renewable; in another half billion years we will have all that fossil fuel restored. Let’s all hold our breath until it reappears!

  7. ghung on Thu, 20th Aug 2015 8:40 am 

    I’ve planted (or allowed to be planted and grown) thousands of TREES on our place, simply by taking cattle off of marginal pasture. Eventually, some of that land will be given over to MEAT (Making Every Animal Tasty), as I let MEAT goats forage in some of those areas. They will be responsible for the CRAP (Carbon Recycling And Processing) portion of my plan, helping to fertilize trees they don’t eat.

    Other trees will be utilized for our HEAT (Home Energy Acceptable Temperatures) program in winter using the SAW (Sustainable Access to Wood) method.

  8. ohanian on Thu, 20th Aug 2015 8:53 am 

    Shiver me timbers mate! This TREES technology can built me a yacht! And let me travel around the world using the elemental power of the wind.

  9. bug on Thu, 20th Aug 2015 10:45 am 

    I hear ya Davy, I have plenty of trees around me, love them all. Not many Oaks, mostly trashy sweet gum (seem to be not good for much), and white pine, holly and sugar maple. Near the salt water and being an overgrown farm field from 40 years ago, my trees are not mature. The sweet gums are like weeds and grown quick and from the stump when cut down.

  10. penury on Thu, 20th Aug 2015 10:57 am 

    I think it was Pres Ronny Ray Gun who said “trees cause pollution”, Who should I believe? It used to be said, you plant flowers for yourself and the trees for your grandchildren.

  11. davey thompsony on Thu, 20th Aug 2015 11:26 am 

    By looking at Keeling’s work one can quickly surmise that the carbon cycle year over year will not be impacted by planting trees as long as we humans continue to burn FF.

  12. PrestonSturges on Thu, 20th Aug 2015 11:51 am 

    Ah gum trees! I’ve killed dozens. Wood that is very tough to split and stumps that are nearly impervious to hand tools. Because of its resistance to splitting it finds some use in veneers I think.

  13. BobInget on Thu, 20th Aug 2015 12:19 pm 

    Sunweb has obviously never kept horses.
    Horses are anything BUT environmentally correct. Horses are big drinking, eating, shitting pets. In America, we don’t even knowingly eat horse. They friggin live forever. When they finally
    croake a person needs hire a backhoe to bury the beasts along with thousands in vet bills over 32 years. The 12 year old daughter you would do anything for, grew up, went off to school, married, had a kid, but her damn horse lives!

    A cedar she planted for a second grade Arbor Day, now fifty feet tall, hardly makes a sound, provides shade for the dumb horse, is lovely and someday will fall on the house and crush my cat.

  14. shortonoil on Thu, 20th Aug 2015 12:50 pm 

    “A cedar she planted for a second grade Arbor Day, now fifty feet tall, hardly makes a sound, provides shade for the dumb horse, is lovely and someday will fall on the house and crush my cat.”


  15. Apneaman on Thu, 20th Aug 2015 2:34 pm 

    Heinberg: Introducing TREES? More like a final farewell.

    Scientists warn of unprecedented damage to forests across the world

    “Human impacts such as logging and clearance for farmland and mining have left less than a quarter of tropical forests intact, say the authors of one of the special issue papers. The remaining three-quarters are either fragmented or otherwise degraded.

    The grey shaded areas in the map below show where forest has been cleared since the 1700s, and the red areas show recent hotspots for deforestation. But through the coming century, the threat of forest clearance will be “increasingly combined with the impacts of rapid climatic changes,” the researchers say.”

  16. Apneaman on Thu, 20th Aug 2015 3:45 pm 

    Nitrogen emissions in smog threatens to ‘massacre’ world’s forests: Chinese scientists

  17. Ralph on Thu, 20th Aug 2015 4:13 pm 

    The British Navy, that ruled the world’s oceans for over a century , was built of Oak AND help. Oak for the ship and hemp for the rope and linen for the sails.

  18. joke on Thu, 20th Aug 2015 4:58 pm 

    Yup, I sure do believe this story is not a PLANT. I just realised I will never get the 3 minutes I lost looking at this article, plus the 3 minutes I spent adding this, doh!

  19. Newfie on Thu, 20th Aug 2015 6:09 pm 


  20. Makati1 on Thu, 20th Aug 2015 8:36 pm 

    Trees take many years to grow and one year to be killed by climate changes, beetle infestations and the like. When wood replaces hydrocarbon heat, the forests will be decimated along with anything edible in them.

    “TREES may enable civilization to evolve to a new level.”

    Dream on unicorn huggers. ^_^

  21. PrestonSturges on Fri, 21st Aug 2015 3:22 pm 

    Also, if we take the output of something like one very productive fruit tree and convert that to ethanol for driving, we’d get half a tank of fuel. For our western lifestyle, we’d need a acre to grow crops and the equivalent of several more acres for energy.

  22. Brett on Sat, 22nd Aug 2015 9:45 am 

    Might be the worst written article of all time. It reads like an ad for “the best stock trading system ever” or “makes your penis larger and harder”. “But wait, there’s more! Order now and receive a second bonus crap product for FREE!

    … Give literally zero actual information.

  23. Newfie on Sat, 22nd Aug 2015 10:09 am 

    “… on top of that, everything will be free, so there will be no more poverty or economic inequality.”

    Ha ha. Hilarius. Even if this were feasible and all true, a corporation would buy the rights and sell the product for a fat profit. Economic inequality is built into the human species. It’s not going away, even after the collapse.

  24. Kenz300 on Sat, 22nd Aug 2015 11:57 am 

    Climate Change is real….. deal with it……..

    Solar Beats Gas in Colorado – Renewable Energy World

  25. apneaman on Sat, 22nd Aug 2015 2:50 pm 

    Fucking amazing how we spend hundreds of billions of dollars on so called education, yet some people cannot spot over the top satire.

  26. apneaman on Sat, 22nd Aug 2015 2:52 pm 

    Wildfires consume West Coast, costing lives and millions in property damage

    “At least 80 wildfires are sweeping across the West Coast, with a deadly “hell storm”’ in Washington State taking the lives of three firefighters and California’s blazes made worse since it’s already suffering from an extreme drought.”

  27. peakyeast on Sat, 22nd Aug 2015 7:12 pm 

    Actually hemp sounds like a good idea.

    While providing high quality fibers for clothing, ropes and many other things – it also has the ability to dull people and possibly reducing their consumption of energy intensive actions like travelling thus making the descent easier on everyone.

  28. ennui2 on Sun, 23rd Aug 2015 3:52 pm 

    Here is another in the series. The idea that trees can save us assumes the climate will stay static long enough for them to grow to maturity. That’s not going to happen.

  29. apneaman on Mon, 24th Aug 2015 3:27 pm 

    US Experiencing Worst Fire Season on Record as Blazes in Washington and Oregon Explode Twelvefold to Over 1 Million Acres

    “The heat settled in, baking Oregon, Washington and Montana with 90 and, sometimes, 100 degree + heat. Fires sparked and smoldered throughout June, July, and through late August. But over the past twelve days, despite amazing preparation and effort on behalf of fire officials, northwestern wildfires exploded in size by more than tenfold — erupting from about 85,000 acres in coverage to over a million acres burning as of Monday, August 24th.”

    “Worst US Fire Season on Record Through Late August

    As the US Northwest fights valiantly to get its massive wildfires under control, the United States now finds itself in its worst fire season on record through late August. In Alaska alone more than 5.1 million acres have burned. Now, with nearly 7.5 million acres gone up in smoke across the United States since Spring, we are about 300,000 acres ahead of previous worst season 2012.”

  30. Apneaman on Mon, 24th Aug 2015 4:45 pm 

    When firefighters speak out on climate change, we ought to listen up

    “In mid-August, the day after a quick-moving fire first exploded southwest of Boise, Idaho, the blaze more than doubled in size to nearly 79,000 acres in one four hour stretch. Along the way, it sparked a “firenado” that rained hot ash and dirt on firefighters.

    Or consider the disturbing talk surrounding the still-smoldering fire named Rocky that this month scorched 70,000 acres near Napa, California: “This fire wants to do whatever it wants,” Jason Shanley, a Cal Fire spokesman, observed, adding “It’s defying all odds. 30 year, 40 year veterans have never seen this before.”

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