When you think of Green Technology, things like solar panels, windmills, or hydropower stations may cross your mind. But it’s improbable for something like algae. With growing concern over global warming and climate change, it’s now essential more than ever to adopt green technologies. For that, we need more research, discoveries, and inventions. Algae, as a green technology, is one of them and one of the unusual ones. In this article, we’ll explain how can this will be useful as an alternative source of energy in the future.
What is Algae?
Even if algae is naturally occurring, some people don’t have a clear understanding of what algae is. Well, algae are aquatic organisms that grow in places with a constant supply of water. You can find them in ponds, lake dwellings, water tanks, or even in your terrace if water present in there for at least 15-20 days in a row. The most significant thing about them is that algae are capable of photosynthesis – the same phenomenon by which plants convert carbon dioxide to oxygen. Biologists have long known this and are developing them as green technology.
Characteristics of Green Technology
To be considered as a green technology, algae had to pass certain tests. By definition, a technology will be considered green if it:
- Doesn’t harm the environment.
- Does not emit carbon dioxide or heat trapping gases.
- Does not consume renewable resources.
- Is self-sustainable.
So in that regard, algae ticks most of the check boxes.
Two Ways Algae is being used in the Field of Green Technology
Algae has been researched for decades now. And with the recent development, scientists have been able to employ it in green tech purposes. Here are two of the most popular ways:
Carbon Capture with algae
One of the main reasons for global warming is carbon emission. Carbon is a heat-trapping gas that doesn’t allow the sunlight to reflect into space after it is absorbed into the atmosphere. This raises the overall temperature of the earth. But algae can help us combat this. Algae capture carbon dioxide. Recently a company called Hypergiant Industries introduced its flagship product, Eos Bioreactor. This device finds its usage in industrial power plants for capturing carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere. The bioreactor uses tanks of green organisms at its core to achieve this.
As a Biofuel
Algal biofuel is a hot trend in bioscience. Just like coal or natural gas, you can burn them to produce energy. There are two main benefits to it. First, the product of algae doesn’t require electricity or fuel since you get them from ponds. And secondly, they give off a minimal amount of residue. So there’s no problem with emissions. But the problem is it is not commercially feasible and is expensive when compared to petrol and diesel. Shortly, all of that may change.
There are different types of algae: green, green-blue, red, and brown. With further research, we can derive usefulness from each one of them.