Hannah discusses alternative uses for the cherry blossoms that could minimise the use of other raw materials, instead of just preventing them from decomposing.
Most people would agree that Climate Change is a huge problem and many organisations are thinking of ways to mitigate or reduce the effect of global warming, but what if you could do that at the same time as solve another problem?
Hannah Zo, one of our Year 2 A level students, may have identified one of those situations where carbon could be captured at the same time as solving a waste issue.
Hannah spent her summer break thinking about cherry blossom and how every year the cherry trees lining the streets of South Korea capture carbon dioxide to make flowers that last only a couple of weeks before falling to the ground and creating a waste problem for street cleaners or blocking water drainage systems.
What if that captured carbon could remain captured or used as a resource for other products?
In a paper that is currently in pre-print and available online at the BioRxiv journal, Hannah describes how she collected data to estimate the total amount of carbon captured in cherry blossom over one season.
She uses some clever maths, alongside her biological understanding, to extrapolate the carbon content of her samples to the carbon content in all the cherry blossom in South Korea. The numbers are hugely significant and correspond to the carbon captured by 176 Hectares of pine forest or the carbon released by 0.24 million car journeys.
Hannah goes on to discuss alternative uses for the cherry blossoms that could minimise the use of other raw materials, instead of just preventing them from decomposing.
Hannah is in Year 2 of the A level Programme at NatMatSci and is currently aiming to study Biology at Oxford University.
The full transcript of Hannah’s paper (published with co author Dr Appleyard) can be found at this link.
Words, Dr Steve Appleyard, Head of Biology
Find out more about studying Biology from Dr Steve Appleyard in our Podcast Series.