Algae lamp absorbs 200 times more CO₂ than trees

A French scientist has found a way to put slimy pond produce to good use

An innovative lamp powered by algae has the potential to absorb up to one tonne of CO₂ every year, according to its designer, which is as much as a single tree absorbs over its entire lifetime.

The lighting system, invented by French biochemist Pierre Calleja, requires no electricity but instead draws carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and produces an illuminating glow thanks to algae.

Algae produces energy from both sunlight and carbon dioxide, while creating carbohydrate energy to feed itself. That the algae can survive on carbon dioxide alone means the lamps could be placed in areas without natural light and they will still function.

Lighting isn’t the only thing algae is surprisingly good at; the substance has also been in the headlines for the role it could potentially play in developing more eco-friendly biofuels.