There are two great environmental challenges that we face today: one is the
need for clean, renewable electrical energy and the other is a way to
convert massive amounts of CO2 back to oxygen in the atmosphere. Algae Street Lamp (You Tube Image)French
biochemist Pierre Calleja may have found the answer in his street lamp
powered by microalgae.
Over the past few years algae has been getting a lot of attention as a potential power source. The light is created as a natural result of the process of photosynthesis.
Like all plants algae takes in carbon dioxide and converts it into oxygen. A single one of these street lamps can remove a ton of CO2 from the atmosphere in a year. It would take a tree an entire lifetime to absorb that much.
One of these lamps has been installed in an underground parking garage in Bordeaux, France -- an environment loaded with carbon emissions. There they can measure the functionality of the lamp.
While the lamps certainly look cool there are still some questions about the viability of the lamp. Among these issues are whether or not they will be capable of being self-powered.
Researchers at Stanford and the University of Yansei have also been working with the electrical current created by algae during photosynthesis. They have also come up with a lamp powered by the microscopic plants.
Sources: treehugger.com, earthtechling.com, inhabitat.com