Innovation That Matters

“Nature Assumption”, uses microalgae to reduce CO2 levels | Photo source Nature Assumption

Air purifier sequesters carbon using microalgae

Sustainability

The device pumps air in and out at a pace variable to the amount of CO2 in the environment

Spotted: There are countless air purifiers on the market, but none have purified CO2 until now. A group of students from Tunghai University in Taiwan have designed the concept for a device capable of sequestering carbon to lower CO2 level in small spaces. The device, which has been nominated in this year’s James Dyson Award under the project name “Nature Assumption”, uses microalgae to reduce CO2 levels. 

Trees and algae sequester carbon dioxide naturally. Trees “consume” it as part of their photosynthesis process by absorbing carbon into their trunks and roots and releasing oxygen back into the air. Algae replicates the same process but absorbs the carbon in the form of more algae — this is called carbon fixation. Algae can consume more carbon dioxide than trees because it can cover more surface area and grow more quickly . 

Think of the design like a pair of lungs, but instead of breathing out more CO2, it does the opposite. The device has been designed to  pump air in and out, so that it looks like it is breathing.  

There is also a sensor that detects the levels of CO2 in a space. As the amount of CO2 increases, the device breathes more frequently. Likewise, when the CO2 decreases, it inhales slower. 

The algae essentially use the carbon to grow. There is a curly part at the end of the pump where microalgae accumulates and also where carbon is stored. The team chose to use algae due to its high efficiency at fixating carbon. 

Written By: Katrina Lane

Explore more: Sustainability Innovations | Work & Lifestyle Innovations

Website: jamesdysonaward.org

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