Climate change is and will remain a global issue in our society. In order to reduce CO2 emissions, research and business are constantly coming up with new ideas. If a Mexican start-up has its way, panels filled with algae, for example, could soon make our buildings greener and thus save the climate. But many open questions remain.
You can hardly ignore it: we are currently feeling the effects of climate change very closely. In Germany, the temperatures reach around 35 degrees Celsius, in parts of Portugal they even approach the 50 degree mark. The reason is hot air from Africa, which is currently giving us a period of drought.
So it’s high time to do everything possible to mitigate climate change. A creative suggestion comes from a Mexican start-up, for example Greenfluidics. It includes a miracle plant that has already been mentioned frequently: the algae. Because flat algae panels could make living and working more sustainable in the future.
Algae as all-rounders in small panels work against climate change
The idea is not new. Almost ten years ago, the first companies demonstrated proposals in this direction. And this is how it works: The exhaust air from the building is pumped into the algae panel. The plant then absorbs carbon dioxide and sunlight and subsequently produces oxygen. Depending on the available light, the algae will grow over time.
In practice, one kilogram of algae can absorb two kilograms of carbon dioxide. The biomass also stores heat and thus serves as a natural air conditioning system. At the same time, building owners regularly pump them out. A process also produces biofuel that can be used to heat the building.
But that’s not all. The heated panels send liquid through a thermoelectric generator and at the same time produce electricity for the residents. In theory, all of this can be implemented, but in practice there are some problems.
Algae panels leave many questions unanswered
On the one hand there is the design: the panels make a nice impression on pictures, but in reality the mass should look much darker and less clear. Thus, the algae offer no particular added value for the appearance of a building equipped with the new technology.
In addition, there are many unanswered questions regarding development and costs. Initial calculations assume that the building costs could increase by a factor of ten and this can quickly become unaffordable for owners.
It remains to be hoped that the technology will be further developed in a more practical way. Maybe the inventors will think of something else. Because there can never be enough ideas on how we can stop climate change.