London, Jun 1 : In wake of the environmental damage caused by billions of tonnes of greenhouse gases produced each year, researchers at Colombia University in New York claim to have made a major breakthrough towards developing a machine that can 'suck' carbon dioxide from the air.
The research team, led by Klaus Lackner, a physicist at Colombia University in New York, plans to construct and test a prototype of the machine, dubbed the 'scrubber, within two years.
If successful, the machine- small enough to fit in a cargo container - will hopefully provide a cost-effective means of removing up to a tonne of CO2 each day from the air - roughly the equivalent amount produced by a transatlantic flight.
According to reports, Lackner estimated that each device will cost around 100,000 pounds, with all carbon emissions produced in its manufacture being easily offset by the amount each can capture.
However, while the scientists claim the 'scrubber' is a major innovation in the battle against climate change, they insisted their invention does not provide a magic solution to the problem of CO2 emissions.
They said that millions of the devices would be required to capture all global emissions, and the problem of disposing of the CO2 once it has been trapped still remains.
However, with global consumption of fossil fuels continuing to rise despite international efforts, the research team believes that the technology it is pioneering will be the most effective means of coping with global warming.
"I wouldn't write it across the front page that the problem had been solved, but this will help," Scotsman quoted Lackner, as telling a newspaper.
"We are in a hurry to deal with climate change and will be very hard-pressed to stop the train before we get to 450ppm (CO2 in the atmosphere]. This can help stop the train," Lackner added.