• May 22nd 2008 at 10:34AM
  • 18
French company Tyca, which usually works on aquarium and aquiculture projects, has announced the development of lamps that could capture CO2. The lamps are actually a sort of aquarium made of transparent walls that hold microscopic algae that eat CO2 and use solar light to produce O2, like plants. These algae are bioluminescent, which means they produce light. According to the company, one kilogram of these microalgae capture two kilograms of CO2, which means that one of these lamps, which holds 1.5 m3 of these algae could capture up to one ton of CO2 per year. They can even work under artificial light, which makes them suitable for parking lots. Science fiction? Only time will tell.

[Source: Tyca via Planet Forever]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      RE: Terry

      You are correct that cars emit CO. Basically, CO is produced in incomplete combustion. I think it usually happens when there is not enough oxygen during the combustion process. Ideally, a perfectly tuned (and mythical) engine would not produce any CO, but only CO2. In real life, cars emit CO as well as CO2. I do not know whether plants can photosynthesize CO, but I doubt it.

      Now comes the part that really tests my old college chemistry... CO is not a naturally stable molecule I think. This means that it will want to oxidize with free oxygen atoms it comes across to form CO2. This is why CO is actually a fuel and will burn under the right conditions. When it does burn, it produces CO2. Even without burning, if left in the atmosphere long enough, it will eventually oxidize into CO2.

      So, in short, as far as I know these lamps will not "consume" the CO produced by our cars, but could "consume" the CO2 that this CO eventually becomes.

      That said, I agree with Nate regarding the pointlessness of these lights as far as calling them CO2 absorbing. If you really want to absorb some CO2, plant a tree. On the other hand, I think the idea is absolutely brilliant from a strictly coolness factor. I love them.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm amazed you missed this one:

      Simple, Low-cost Carbon Filter Removes 90 Percent Of Carbon Dioxide From Smokestack Gases
      • 8 Months Ago
      Dear all,

      The only thing I really want to know is:
      "What is the name of this bioluminescent algae, and where do I get it?"

      After knowing that, everybody (who has the algae) can make them, since they probably grow fast (dubble their volume per day) and by using empty PET bottles, one could little up it's garden virtually for free. As they say, Just Add water.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Re: Michael Rose & James

      I know the post says "capture," but generally algae convert C02 into oxygen through photosynthesis, same as other plants. So the CO2 isn't stored in the plant, it's changed into oxygen. Unless these algae are engineered to do something truly weird that must be what they mean by "capture."

      • 8 Months Ago
      What a fantastic idea...I'd love to have my home lighted up by these things. Do these things need to be plugged in at all?

      But what a concept. Leave it to the "socialist" French evil doers to come up with something innovative.
      • 7 Years Ago
      You eat it and turn on your heart light. The circle of life is complete.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Turn the algae to biodiesel. There's a solution to the liquid fuels problem.
      • 8 Months Ago
      OMFG! There are natural CO2 absorbers everywhere! Perhaps you have heard of them, they're called trees! There are also some that grow along the ground called plants!

      There is no need for these so called "CO2 converters" anywhere. If you are concerned about CO2 emissions, like breathing, then just plant a tree. This is utter nonsense.

      CO2 isn't the problem, it's CO (carbon monoxide) that is the real problem. The endgame of this whole CO2 scare is to ultimately get people to pay for breathing. Think about it, there are 6+ billion (with a B) CO2 producers on the planet producing CO2. OMG, what are we going to do? Somehow we need to find a way to get rid of them. Or even better, tax them on the amount of CO2 (that plants actually need to grow) they produce. We'll make BILLIONS!

      Get a BRAIN people, and get it quickly!
      • 7 Years Ago
      the CO2 doesn't just vanish. What do we do with all this algae?
      • 8 Months Ago
      I am a little confused or maybe just too stupid to really understand any of this :-).

      I always thought that cars produced carbon monoxide (CO), like Nate said. Do these "lights" eat CO as well as CO2?

      Just trying to understand.
      • 8 Months Ago
      hang on a second...

      As Michael mentions, the CO2 does not just magically go away. It becomes the "structure" of the algae (well, the C part of CO2 does anyway). It is basically turned into living matter.

      Alas, living matter eventually becomes dead matter (and in the case of algae, quite quickly) and then rots. As it rots, it releases the C back into the atmosphere. Carbon sequestration in the form of algae is not really a solution.

      Michael correctly suggests that the algae be sequestered underground so that the Carbon that is captured, stays captured. Unfortunately, these lights are not set up for that. They shouldn't appreciably increase Carbon output (other than manufacture and delivery), but they will not reduce it.

      On a larger scale, however, something like what Michael suggests could be feasible. Instead of little bitty lights randomly strewn about, large fields of algae could be grown and then sequestered. That said, the amount of energy involved in doing that, coupled with the minimal amount of carbon that would be captured, would make this (most likely) a complete waste of time.
      • 7 Years Ago
      re: Jame's comment and question.

      No, the CO2 doesn't just vanish, but it is locked away in the algae effectively removing it from the atmosphere (where we currently have too much of it) and putting it back (more or less) where it belongs.

      Where do you think the CO2 came from? The CO2 had been released by burning coal and oil deposits that are the results of millions of years of work on the remains plant and animal material. Having algae (or other plant life) consume the CO2 helps complete the cycle.

      The fact that this algae is producing usable light and not consuming electricity in the process is a bonus.

      Once the algae has expired, pump it back under the ground, where it and the CO2 it captured can remain until someday the heat and pressure turn it once more in to usable fuel sources for future generations. Better yet, hopefully future generations will have learned from our mistakes and just leave it there because there are far better ways to satisfy our energy needs then to be using coal or oil in the first place.
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