Microalgae are recognized for their properties in many new fields. From lighting and home heating to air pollution control, biofuels, plastics and even cosmetics, algae have many surprises in store for us! We take this opportunity to reveal all their secrets.
Follow us today to find out how algae can help you limit your environmental impact!
See also: Chlorella benefits
MICROALGAE FOR HEATING
Imagine a building in which 100% of the heating and 50% of the hot water is provided by spirulina. Well, such a building exists. Built in Hamburg in 2013, its 200m2facade features spirulina tanks and photobioreactors,
Thanks to the composition of the culture medium (nutrients andCO2) and the facade's exposure to the sun, the microalgae thrive and carry out their photosynthesis activity in complete tranquillity. The heat released by their growth and that of the sun is then channelled to a heat exchanger in the basement of the building to heat domestic and sanitary water. The hot water recovered in this way covers 100% of the building's domestic heating needs and 50% of running hot water. The remaining 50% is produced by a heat pump. However, microalgae are living organisms that are sensitive to both high and low temperatures. To protect them from extreme climatic conditions, a device has been designed to safeguard the microalgae.
Unfortunately, this type of building is currently very expensive to construct, but the engineers in charge of this type of project hope to be able to reduce the cost in the long term.
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PAINTING IN "GREEN
Let's stay in the building sector with a Breton company that uses microalgae, these natural and renewable components, to produce paint.
These seaweed-based products contribute to air quality in the home, thanks to their low emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are toxic compounds present in seaweed-based paints at less than 1 g/liter, compared with up to 100 g/liter for traditional paints.
This innovation from renewable resources, which promotes respect for the environment and short supply chains, has won numerous French and European awards.
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PLASTIC WITHOUT PLASTIC
Plastic is one of the most time-consuming types of waste to decompose when thrown into nature. A PET bottle, for example, takes between 100 and 1,000 years to disappear, even creating a 7th continent of plastic in the middle of the Pacific. This heap of waste represents a real environmental problem and contributes to the depletion of marine biodiversity.
Thanks to mechanical and thermal treatments, it is now possible to manufacture plastic from algae grown without pesticides or fertilizers and using very little water. Objects resulting from this technology are biodegradable. After 12 weeks in the soil, the object disappears, acting as a natural fertilizer. As an added bonus, this material is easier to work with than traditional plastic granules, and requires no investment in special equipment. The uses for this type of plastic are endless, from eyeglass frames to flower pots and reusable cups, algae can already take over your home.
In the near future, algae could help improve the energy performance of your home. They will also become part of your daily life, helping to limit air pollution and the ecological impact of plastic manufacturing and recycling.
See you soon to discover how seaweed can be used in the urban landscape and in cosmetics.
See also: Spirulina benefits