The Colors of Green Energy

Everywhere in the world companies, governments and individual enthusiasts are trying to make our lifestyle sustainable for generations to come. Our energy consumption seems to be the biggest challenge and green energy seems to be the future. Well, in every way the greenest form of energy is that of plants, particularly algae.

There are a lot of interesting studies going on concerning algae energy. We can use them to make biofuel and remove carbon dioxide gasses we emit. In the near future we can convert them into food and if we really have no idea what to do with them, the can be used as fertilizer. The best, in my opinion, is to use the plants photosynthesis for our own gain.

Every high school student knows that plants use photosynthesis to transform carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and glucose. The plant emits the oxygen and uses the glucose to live and grow. Plants literally extract their energy from the photosynthesis process and the great thing is that we in turn can extract it from them in the form of an electrical current! The process is fairly easy, completely environmental friendly and cannot only be done with algae, but is possible with every kind of vegetation as long as its photosynthesis process a strong enough.
Even if there are possibilities with other plants, algae still seem the most interesting. Algae can be found almost everywhere on the planet; in seas, forests, mountains and in warm and cold climates. Besides the fact that they can be found anywhere, there are incredible amounts of them. The figure below shows the amount of gallons of biodiesel that can be produced per yard per year from different crops. Considering other crops micro algae have an astounding performance!

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Indication of the production possibilities of biodiesel from algae from Jonathan Trent during his TED Talk.

The studies into alternative energies have since about a year caught my attention, specially the ones concerning the possibilities of algae. During the final year of the study Industrial Product Design at the The Hague University students get the chance to design a product in the context of Sustainable Product Design. The choice was easy to make; a product that runs on algae.
Together with two colleagues we started brainstorming for potential products. We had a lot of really cool ideas, from bus stops, to jewelry, to iPhone cases. In the end we settled for a most common design product that would really show the sustainability of the product and the potential of algae; a algae powered led clock.

 

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The Algae powered led clock with conventional green algae and a wood moulded casing.

 

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Algae come in a variety of colors, giving a wide variety of product variants.