Inventor of the Week Archive
for a different Invention or Inventor
Moshe Alamaro, a graduate student in Mechanical Engineering at MIT, has
developed a revolutionary method of battling global warming: planting
new trees from the air.
As most people are aware, millions of acres of forest have been
destroyed in the last century, due not only to humans---most notably
the lumber industry---but also to climatic change and forest fires.
Traditional reforestation methods, tedious and time-consuming, can
replace only a tiny percentage of these trees.
Alamaro has invented an incredibly efficient system. He designed
conical canisters, of a starchy biodegradable material, which eachcontain a seedling packed in soil and nutrients. The canisters are
dropped from a low-flying plane, so that they hit the ground at 200
m.p.h., and imbed themselves in the soil. Then the canisters decompose
and the young trees take root. A large aircraft could drop as many as
100,000 saplings in a single flight: Alamaro's system could plant as many as a million trees in one day.
Unsuccessful experiments along similar lines were done in Canada in the
early 1970s. But Alamaro, an aeronautical engineer, has made the process
practicable. He uses a combination of ballistics and navigation technology to place the saplings accurately. His canisters are strong enough to withstand the
impact but still decompose quickly. Moreover, Alamaro's system is
overseen by a airborne surveillance system, which guarantees safety and
also monitors the early growth of the trees.
Alamaro is now joining forces with international conservation and
energy organizations. Large-scale reforestation significantly reduces
the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, thus counteracting global
warming. In addition, new trees fight erosion, promote biodiversity,
and protect the habitat of local wildlife. Unsurprisingly, Moshe
Alamaro's ideas have stirred up a great deal of interest, and hopefully it will
not be long before his unique and efficient system is being
used around the world.