Microalgae Lamp Can Absorb One Ton of Carbon Per Year
Tom Spendlove posted on March 07, 2014 |
Pierre Calleja shows off his oxygen producing, carbon dioxide eating lamps.

Pierre Calleja has been working with aquaculture technology since the early 1990s. His newest contribution to the world is a microalgae lamp that will absorb a ton of carbon from the air every year. In his TED Talk "The street lamp that absorbs CO2" Calleja explains how he created the light source and how his unique take on algae can help the world.

Calleja has a straightforward way of explaining his science before discussing his invention, and explains to the TED audience that they are just large groups of microalgaes. He advocates using microalgae everywhere, from electronics to plastics to fuel to pharmaceutical products.


Using the green properties of microalgae Pierre wants to produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide - the basic building blocks of photosynthesis, but performed by single cell organisms that he can control. Calleja defines the current environmental system as two lungs for the planet - plants and oceans - that are filtering our air. He then discusses how the world's lungs aren't doing enough to help the world to breathe.

The lamp is based on the idea that we share ambient light with the rest of the world, and sharing a little light with microalgae will allow it to thrive. The demonstration lamp onstage with Calleja brightens as he moves closer to it and speaks in its direction. The light is softer, he says, because it is filtered through a live animal.

Pierre currently works as a biochemist with FermentAlg developing new applications for microalgae but since 2012 his lamp has been generating the most buzz. Microalgae lamps aren't a new invention but the way that Calleja presents his ideas and seems ready to commercialize the lamps feels new.


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