A French biochemist has designed a micro-algae lamp that has the potential to absorb carbon dioxide emissions.

It was designed by Pierre Calleja of FermentAlg, a cleantech company that explores the properties found in micro-algae and their possible integration in the everyday human environment.

The lamp, designed for the urban landscape and building interiors, is completely powered by a tube filled with glowing green algae. It illuminates by using the energy sourced from the photosynthesis process of the algae, removing any need for electricity.

Pierre Calleja

Biochemist, Pierre Calleja

The micro-algae survives by living off the carbon dioxide in its surrounding environment and stores the energy from the photosynthesis process for later use in unlit areas.

The illumination provides a soft glow as it is going through a living organism, explained Calleja. He also suggested the light has the potential to contribute to the reduction of air pollution and have a positive impact on climate change.

In terms of how much it could contribute, Calleja and his firm report that one single lamp could absorb approximately one ton of carbon per year, equating to approximately the same amount absorbed between 150 and 200 trees.

Exploring Algae

Exploring Algae

For example, proposed commercial placements include urban areas as street lamps working in conjunction with the surrounding green landscape or in underground car parks where the micro-algae could feed off car fuels, absorbing carbon dioxide and returning oxygen to the space thereby improving the air quality. The lamp also highlights opportunities for its use within buildings themselves and as way-finding solutions in the evening.

Calleja’s designed the ambitious prototype to double as both a light source to absorb solar energy and a home for the micro-algae in which it can live off captured carbon.

The lamp has drawn global attention, including from leading UK company Lights For Living, who commented on the opportunity that the product proposes as a residential product.

“Many new and interesting home lighting products are making the change and becoming more eco friendly, and this new lamp from Pierre Calleja is very interesting in this way,” a spokesperson from the company said. “It’s an exciting move towards creating home lighting options that would reduce the energy consumption of households around the world, and has the potential to spark many improvements for the environment.”

Seasweed As Insulation

Seasweed As Insulation

With concerns over global warming and oil depletion, the opportunities provided by the photosynthesis process algae undergoes is very much at the forefront of research for its potential as a raw material for biofuel and as as thermal insulation in the built environment.

Along with the lamp, Calleja and his company have also explored the potential of micro-algae molecules in Omega 3 fatty acids, colouring agents, antioxidants and biopolymers and biofuel.