In the worlds current state, water levels will be rising over 4 meters in under 100 years, creating over 300 million refugees
There are currently 416 ppm of carbon dioxide molecules in the air, which is double the sustainable amount of carbon for our atmosphere.
Due to the large increase of carbon in the atmosphere, severe changes in precipitation patterns will occur. This will lead to natural disasters such as hurricanes and droughts becoming more frequent and intense.
Our concrete mix has the sole goal of pulling carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and it does this through the process of carbon fixation, naturally found in bacteria such as cyanobacteria. However, the issue comes with the fact that the cyanobacteria will be stuck inside the concrete while also residing in harsh climates. To combat these problems, we are using the process of gene deletion and addition, as outlined by a previous study, to add certain genes to our bacteria that allows it to adapt to this new environment. We specifically are editing it so that it will be dependent on hydrogen gas, rather than light, and also that it can survive temperatures from the range of 3 to 130 degrees Celsius.
After the gene editing process, we will be using the process of directed evolution to make sure our new bacteria have fully adapted to the new genes. This will provide us the perfect specimen for our cement mix, as it will take in hydrogen and carbon dioxide to sustain itself.
After all genetic modifications, the way that the cyanobacteria works is through the use of only hydrogen gas and carbon dioxide, where the energy for the whole process comes from the electrons knocked off the hydrogen gas and the carbon dioxide is used as parts to build sugar. The energy from the electrons are used to produce the sugar made from the carbon dioxide and other internal substances. This will be how the cyanobacteria is able to sustain itself off of only naturally occuring substances.Further Details
By producing 10% of the current load of concrete, which would come out as around 3.3 billion tonnes of concrete, we can pull 5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide from the air each year. This will all be done at a price of 64$ per tonne of cement, which is 15% lower than status quo. The amount of carbon pulled from the atmosphere will also compound as years go by, and we produce even more concrete.
We are a group of 5 high-schoolers that want to see a better future for all, and we believe the first step to that is finding an efficient way to solve climate change. We each have our own specialties, and we combined all our expertise to create Zepher.