Invention TEDx

A streetlamp powered by … algae?

Posted by: Hailey Reissman

tumblr_mtmtn86Wur1qedf7ko1_1280The glowing, neon green lamp you see above is the invention of French biochemist Pierre Calleja, who had the crazy idea of using algae to power otherworldly, tube-shaped streetlamps that double as homes for this growing gloop. In a talk at TEDxLausanneChange, he explains the process behind the invention.

You may remember photosynthesis from biology class — if not, Wikipedia will remind you: “Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to convert light energy, normally from the sun, into chemical energy that can be used to fuel the organisms’ activities.” But can photosynthesis help us light our sidewalks and roadways? Calleja thinks so.

He and his team at FermentAlg developed this lamp to double as a habitat for microalgae, which absorb solar energy and consume carbon dioxide. These lamps are designed to store the energy made from this process, so that when placed in unlit places, they can continue to shine.

These beautiful lights are not only practical, but their symbiotic technology could help in the fight against rising carbon emissions and climate change.

For more on Calleja’s work, check out his talk below.

This post originally was published on the TEDx blog. Read much more about the fascinating ideas percolating through the TEDx universe there »