The TREEPODS INIATIVE is a sustainable project leaded by AETRANGERE and ShiftBoston. The value of this initiative is to anticipate the introduction of De-carbonisation technologies into the urban fabric while allowing majors cities around the world, like Boston or Paris, to achieve their goals in carbon reduction programs. Boston Treepods is an urban intervention which contains a system that is capable of removing carbon dioxide from the air and releasing oxygen using a carbon dioxide removal process called “humidity swing”. The humidity swing developed by Dr Lackner (Columbia University) is a revolutionary technology which allow the energy-efficient capture of CO2 from ambient air, in a sustainable and economic way, using an environmentally friendly resin. Treepod can be defined as a living CO2 scrubbing machine which works like a nano urban air cleaning infrastructure.

Objectives and beneficiaries

The aim of this collaboration is to allow the achievement of Boston’s global goals in
terms of carbon reduction programs in the short time, giving us enough time to
make the change from the present fossil fuel economy into a new Zero carbon energy

The Initiative doesn’t seek to replace natural trees, but to embody and artificially enhance the most important biological characteristic of natural trees: the capacity to take the co2 and release clean air. Treepod’s first environmental quality is to increase considerably the levels of carbon absorption, closing the carbon cycle. Treepod imitates one of the most unique trees in the world, the Dragon Blood Tree, whose umbrella shaped crown that optimizes a canopy to provide a maximum of shading surface and wind flow. This large surface shall host solar photovoltaic cells to harvest the energy necessary to power the air cleaning bulb system. It also feeds a glowing LED urban lighting. The canopy branching structure of the Treepod multiplies the contact points between air and the CO2. The 126 Treepod’s bulbs work like the alveoli in a human lung, here is where the cleaning gaseous exchange takes place: the alkaline resin reacts with air holding CO2, when the resin is saturated with CO2; it reacts with the water contained in the humid air and releases CO2 for storage. Then the recycled resin could be used again in the same process. With a 10m diameter roof surface and its 6m high, the Treepod has a high modular capacity, issued from a honeycomb hexagonal geometry, able to be adapted in three levels of assemblage. The tree will be made with a recycled and recyclable plastic, such as the PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) which is the material commonly used for drink bottles. TREEPOD enhance people participation as a driving force in CO2 reduction process.

Strong points of the practice

It displays information in real time and “augmented reality” allowing people to be involved about de-carbonization process, about sustainable behaviors and proposing different ways to engage citizens in the green agenda.

Expected results and benefits for climate change adaptation and mitigation

The TREEPOD shall have an important social role in the community, allowing people to interact with it and between each other, and learn about the environmental paradigm shift.

Replicability potential of the practice