From craft beer to the military, algae is cropping up everywhere. What was once just the scourge of ponds is now a global market, with growing and investment on a massive scale.
But this could just be the start. With many industries looking at algae, before long it could become a familiar sight in our daily lives. Known for its eco credentials, some are even hoping that the plant will help create cleaner, more sustainable technologies.
Here are some of the latest ways that algae is infiltrating our lives.
Eco-Friendly Craft Beer
This algae greenhouse that is currently on Kickstarter is for craft beer microbreweries to capture the CO2 released in the brewing process. The process also has a second benefit – once its captured the CO2, the algae converts it into obesity-fighting omega-3 oils.
Your room could soon have a green glow if French biochemist Pierre Calleja has his way – he’s developed a light that is algae-powered. The algae photosynthesises in the tube, which allows it to thrive and means it soaks up CO2, making it particularly good for cities looking to clean up their air.
Combined Apartment and Algae Factory
This proposal for an apartment building has algae at its core – literally. The apartment units are in a grid on the outside of the building, with an algae farm at the centre, pumping out biofuel and bioplastics for 3D printing.
Regular cars are now running on algae-based biodiesel in San Jose, the US , and there are plans to widen this to other areas of the country. Solazyme, the company supplying the algae is one of the major playing in the fast-rising biofuels industry, with algae fuels being used for everything from heating to military jet fuel.
With its eco-friendly credentials, algae could become a standard fuel source for houses. The first ever example of this was built last year. The BIQ House in Hamburg, Germany has a bioreactor façade to generate biomass and heat to power it. Although the project cost too much to be easily replicated, the team behind it are now working to lower the costs for mass use.