Algae Streetlight

algae lamps
Microalgae Street Lamps (in prototype stage).

French biochemist Pierre Calleja has invented a streetlight that is powered by algae AND which absorbs CO2 from the air. Pierre reports that one lamp can take 1 ton of CO2 out of the atmosphere per year. This is as much CO2 as an average tree absorbs during its entire 150 year life. According to the EPA a typical US car that gets 21 mpg and is driven 12,000 miles per year, emits about 5 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. So, each car owner will need to commission five of these streetlamps, or get a much more fuel efficient car, such as a hybrid or electric and cut your need for algae lamps in half. Prototypes are being tested and the designer notes that development is still needed to make a cost-effective product.

An ichthyologist (fish expert) by training, Pierre Calleja spent much of his career studying both larval breeding techniques and mixotropic algae. In 2007, he filed 2 patents linked to the farming of microalgae which led to the creation of his company Fermentalg in 2009. “The lamps are composed of a tube containing microalgae, as well as a battery… during the day, the batteries are charged via photosynthesis of the algae, using both solar power and CO2.”

Pierre Calleja announced in December of 2012, that his company has also successfully tested a third generation microalgae biofuel, commonly-known as algae-sourced biofuel or algofuel, on a standard car engine without modification, in Libourne, southwestern France.

How To Build Your Own Algae CO2 Scrubber

…which will scrub its own consumption and approximately 24 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year:

Written by Keiren

Keiren is an artist who lives in New York City. A lover of animals, nature, science & green building. Keiren originally founded Inspiration Green in 2007, which merged with Insteading in 2016.


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  1. can you tell me how the algae will take his energy from the battery? the algae needs nitraits fromwhere it will got nitrait? and is algae able to fill the battery? and can you give me full illustration about this lamp?

  2. I think ‘powered by algae’ is misleading. The lamps still need a power source for the lamp. This energy needed has to come from somewhere (e.g. coal) as well.

    • In the versions I’ve seen, the energy simply comes from light–by day the algae photosynthesize, and by night some of that light-energy is re-released as bioluminescence.

  3. Algae seems to hold the most promise to meet many needs to idlnuce methane gas production for electricity. The combination of algae production & methane biogas is a green way to create endless renewable clean energy for many cities and industries. This technology has attracted companies that need inexpensive CO2 sequestration solutions & renewable energy solutions many application in our world

  4. Micro-Algae street lamps sound like an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional street lamps. Many cities would benefit from this product. Maybe if even half of a city’s driving population funded their own share of these lamps, then that city’s carbon footprint would be greatly reduced. This would mean millions of tons of CO2 cleaned up from the atmosphere. According to ‘Street Smarts’ by M. Grunwald, Philadelphia is a city already on its way to being more eco-friendly (Time Magazine, 10/3/2014) As a city, Philadelphia has been greener through implementing a city-wide program to make its infrastructure give back something to the environment. The addition of these algae street lamps would go a long way to reaching that city’s goals for a greener infrastructure. Imagine, if each vehicle driver funded the 5 algae street lamps apiece, what a difference to the environment it would make as tons of CO2 was cleanly removed.

  5. Dear all,

    Kindly let me know which algae species are user friendly with human.How much Kg of algae will maintain the oxygen level of entire room. i want to keep algae in my room will it release oxygen in air or water.

    Can i grow spriogyra and spirulina species for my health concern.

    You are the reflection of nature by introducing algae as beneficial organism for human being.

    i am thankful for your love towards algae.

  6. Beautiful, but… CO2 sequestration has a real role if it is long lasting. If algae grow and grow… what do i do with the excess of biomasa?… if i throw them in my garden, they Will degrade again to CO2+H2O !!

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