Cloud Collective, a French and Dutch design company has come up with an elegant and green solution to clear up the environment around highways: suspended algae farms. So far, they have implemented such a system over a small stretch of highway in Geneva, Switzerland.
Since algae works by absorbing CO2 and eliminating Oxygen into the air, placing an algae farm near a highway seems like the perfect place. But the system doesn’t only clean out the air. A series of pumps and filters regulate the system, and over time, the algae matures into what can be turned into any number of usable products. Most notably, the algae can be used as combustible biomass or in creams, lotions and other cosmetics.
“Responding to the abundance of CO2 and sunlight, we propose a closed system of transparent tubes, clinging onto the viaduct which is used for the production of algae. These algae can be used to filter air, as combustible biomass or even as raw material for different cosmetic and alimentary products. A steel structure, supporting all the secondary equipment such as pumps, filters and solar panels, functions as a marker for the quickly passing traffic and provides explanations on a more detailed level for pedestrians and cyclists”, Cloud Collective writes on their website.
Of course, this is just an early installment, a proof of concept to show that it works and that it can be applied at a larger scale. I would personally like to see a lifetime assessment of such a system, to see if it can actually be profitable – in other words, if the value of the resulting products and the environmental services are greater than the costs of building such a system. But the idea is pretty awesome – simple and efficient. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing such installments in more places in the world.