(TMU) — It would be no exaggeration to say that the increasing levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions being pumped into the atmosphere is one of the most pressing concerns facing humanity.
But one startup based in Austin, Texas believes that a solution could lie in a new algae-based system that captures and stores carbon dioxide through a purely biological process—similar to how trees are able to turn energy from the sun into oxygen through photosynthesis.
The new prototype from Hypergiant Industries, dubbed the Eos Bioreactor, uses algae and artificial intelligence to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere—and according to its developers, just one of these 63-cubic foot boxes is capable of taking in as much carbon as 400 trees.
Today I‘m excited to share a first look at @hypergiant's Eos Bioreactor. This started with a question: why isn‘t climate change fixable? And, ended with an answer: we need to look more aggressively at algae. https://t.co/f5YcHOPi3o pic.twitter.com/OYWU52RFl4
— Ben Lamm (@federallamm) September 17, 2019
The company’s CEO, Ben Lamm, told Digital Trends:
“We believe one of the biggest human challenges of our time is the current crisis with global warming.
As such, we set out to figure out if trees were really the best solution or if there were other effective alternatives. It turns out that algae is actually much more effective than trees at reducing carbon in the atmosphere, and can be used to create carbon negative fuels, plastics, textiles, food, fertilizer and much more.
[Our research led us to utilize] algae and A.I. to create the Eos Bioreactor, a prototype bioreactor that can substantially outperform trees by up to 400 times.”
Since the dawn of the industrial revolution, greenhouse gases like CO2 are thought to have contributed greatly to the heating of the planet, and in recent years we’ve witnessed a highly volatile shift in global climate conditions resulting in unprecedented heat waves, extreme weather events, and catastrophic fires consuming biodiverse forests from the Amazon to Indonesia.
To make matters worse, carbon emissions are increasing year by year as industries worldwide burn fossil fuels at ever-increasing rates. And with global emissions showing no sign of decreasing, one wonders if there is any hope in terms of curbing the runaway heating of our planet.
"I want you to unite behind the science. And then I want you to take real action."
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg appeared before Congress to urge lawmakers to "listen to the scientists" and embrace global efforts to reduce carbon emissions. https://t.co/txEdAiOYKC pic.twitter.com/O51ESiqOYI
— ABC News (@ABC) September 18, 2019
In recent years, researchers have struggled with how to remove carbon dioxide from nature, ideas have ranged from compressing it into a liquid that is injected into underground reservoirs to turning it into an edible protein. However, such “solutions” have been impractical mainly because they aren’t large-scale enough to realistically solve the emissions crisis.
But Hypergiant hopes that these devices could soon become a staple in our everyday lives.
To that end, it has announced that it plans to release its system’s blueprints so that others can take a crack at designing new variants of the bioreactor that can be built into homes and office buildings—potentially erasing the carbon footprint of entire cities.
In a press release, Lamm noted:
“This device is one of our first efforts focused on fixing the planet we are on. We hope to inspire and collaborate with others on a similar mission.”
— Ben Lamm (@federallamm) September 18, 2019