Algae Infrastructure Sucks CO2 from the Air

self powered micro algae street lamp

Like the traditional industry practices and processes before it, the green building sector is evolving unlike ever before. While sustainable building and green initiatives have always been a part of this industry, in modern times when environmental issues are putting a spotlight onto carbon-heavy practices, green building is truly finding a mainstream niche, allowing for its development at a rapid pace.

Most recently, developers and designers have moved past simply creating structures and technologies that offer to not put excess carbon into the atmosphere, but are actually creating initiatives that remove it.

However – the scientists and designers can’t take all the credit. The keys to drastically cutting carbon have been in our natural environment all along – even if they’re not what you may initially think.

Looking for new ways to cut carbon emissions, scientists are turning to algae.

micro algae in the tube

The latest algae-driven carbon-cutting concept is the brainchild of French biochemist Pierre Calleja. Calleja has developed a street lighting network that operates completely electricity-free while absorbing atmospheric carbon emissions.

The lights are constructed out of a microalgae tube and a battery. During the day, the battery is charged via algae photosynthesis as a result of both solar and carbon elemental forces.

Due to the fact that the lamps store the power produced not only by solar rays but also carbon dioxide, they could become one of the most efficient off-grid lighting suppliers that doesn’t run off solar power.

Calleja foresees the lighting infrastructure implemented in underground garages and on roadsides where they would be at their greatest carbon filtering potential due to the high number of carbon emissions (25 per cent globally) associated with car exhausts.

filling the lamp form with microalgae containing fluid

filling the lamp form with microalgae containing fluid

The biochemist has even gone so far as to suggest that units could eliminate 1 tonne of carbon emissions from the atmosphere a year. This equates to the carbon sucking power of 150 to 200 times that of a tree, which was thought to be nature’s greatest air filter.

The algae lighting system goes beyond lessening carbon emissions. Initiatives such as these go one big step further in terms of sustainable design. Instead of allowing the world to stay in carbon stasis, they offer to reverse a very serious environmental situation. If the infrastructure works as Calleja suggest, cities throughout the world would be privy to an easily implementable solution that solves one of the world’s greatest carbon emitting issues – car travel – without sacrifice on the behalf of drivers.


By Tim Moore

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