Leading up to earth day, we should remind ourselves how much the earth itself can save humans from the current precarious situation we find ourselves. Pierre Calleja, a French biochemist who specialized in microbiology, is attempting to finally get this point across with a project he has been working for the better part of his 20 year expertise. Calleja has developed a lamp that needs nothing more than algae and CO2 to power it.
Car emissions contribute around 25% of the total CO2 humans output to the atmosphere yearly. Not only that, but most of these emissions happen in common areas where concentrations of CO2 are high. This brings us to the extremely useful application of Pierre Calleja’s invention.
Algae-powered street lamp (via Shamengo.com & Pierre Calleja)
For years Calleja has studied mixotropic algae. These algae are of particular importance now because they can generate energy from organic carbon as well as using photosynthesis. This energy produced can then be used to charge batteries, which then produce light by night. So while the lights are not needed in the day, the algae are feeding on CO2 and light, to charge the batteries again. He says each lamp would absorb 1 ton of CO2 every year.
Calleja holds high hopes for his lamps. He says they could even help undo the effects of urban deforestation and eventually be implemented in streets and homes.
It is incredible that Calleja struggled for years to get funding for such a sustainable project. Since the lamps do not need any extra energy source, it is easy to understand why investors would have difficulty investing in something that would not lead to long term profit. Some seem to think humans will save the world, when in fact, it is the other way around.