Facebook PixelAlgae farms additionally used as power plants that produce electricity via photosynthesis
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Algae farms additionally used as power plants that produce electricity via photosynthesis

Image credit: Symbiosis in Development, Merredin Spirulina Algae Farm

Darko Savic
Darko Savic May 31, 2022
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Large algae farms used to produce electricity via photosynthesis while also sequestering carbon from the air.
Generate electricity while removing carbon from the air. The ultimate climate change solution.
How it works
This is basically a combination of two ideas:
  1. Carbon sequestration via large scale algae farming and continuous pumping of the biomass underground
  2. Algae powered battery. Biophotovoltaics (BPV) is the light-dependent production of external electrical current (extracellular electron transfer, or EET) by photosynthetic microorganisms. The current can be harvested by an anode in a suitable bioelectrochemical system and used to power small electronic devices.
A fast growing species of algae are grown in artificial lakes. They naturally harvest energy from the sun through photosynthesis. The small electrical current this generates then interacts with aluminium electrodes placed throughout the lake.
A generator during the day, a battery at night
Despite the fact that photosynthesis requires light, this method can still produce power at night. The researchers think this is because the algae processes some of its food at night which continues to generate an electrical current.
This power generation method is not very efficient, but it's low cost and comes as a side product of farming. It could at the very least power all the necessary equipment - making the entire operation self sustainable.
Pipeline made from glass tubes
If for some reason the power production efficiency was better in an enclosed system it could instead be done via a pipeline/network made of glass tubes.
Algae lake powering a village
Using this method, could a lake full of algae be used to power a village?

[1]Christopher J. Howe, Paolo Bombelli, Electricity Production by Photosynthetic Microorganisms, Joule, Volume 4, Issue 10, 2020, Pages 2065-2069, ISSN 2542-4351, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joule.2020.09.003

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