I’ve been recently flooded with emails, questions and Facebook posts with the algae street lamps that not only light up without any electricity, but also suck up a lot of carbon dioxide (200 times more than a tree). This is just such a big thing that I had to see if this actually works.


Image via Inhabitat.

So here’s the deal: Pierre Calleja of the French start-up FermentAlg has developed what he describes as civilization’s first algae street lamp. Basically, this glowing canister of microorganisms, a prototype placed in the company’s parking lot in Bordeaux doesn’t require energy to light up, instead being powered by a battery that takes its energy from algae photosynthesis – and also sucks up a massive CO2 quantity from the air. Seriously, if this is actually true, then it’s such a big of a win-win that it just has to hit the streets. But does it really work? Isn’t this just one more of many shabby start-ups that fantesize concepts that can’t work?

From what I could dig up, FermentAlg is up to some serious stuff – and they’re doing really cool things – like using algae in food or as biofuels; also, they’ve attracted millions in investments, and that really speaks a lot. Pierre Calleja – I haven’t been able to find anything about him. No peer reviewed studies, no major projects, nothing except for the fact that he is the Chairman, CEO and Founder of FermentAlg; this is not to say that he isn’t a good scientis, let’s just get this straight. I just wish I could find more information about him.

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So these massive tanks during daytime absorb light, the algae inside absorbs CO2 and through photosynthesis, generates energy not only for itself, but also powers a battery that lights up during night time. It just seems to simple to work, and given my rather lackuster knowledge on algae technologies, I’ve emailed a few experts in the field, and as soon as they’ll reply, I’ll get back to you with additional details.

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