Algae Farm Feeds Off of Air Pollution From the Highway

A design firm set up an algae farm on an overpass in Switzerland. The algae cleans the air by feeding off the CO2 from the cars’ exhaust below.
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A design firm set up an algae farm on an overpass in Switzerland. The algae cleans the air by feeding off the CO2 from the cars’ exhaust below.

Are there any pollution-free places left on Earth? That’s the question the BBC News posed in a detailed report this week. Among their findings: “Outdoor air pollution costs an estimated one million lives per year.”

That sparked our curiosity about whether there was an innovative way to eliminate vehicle exhaust, which led us to a IFLScience post about an algae farm that eats air pollution. 

Algae

Photo courtesy of the Cloud Collective

A design firm called the Cloud Collective set up an algae farm on an overpass in Geneva, Switzerland. The algae, which cleans the air by feeding off the CO2 from the cars’ exhaust below, grows in tubes and can be collected and processed to create medication, cosmetic products and food, according to IFLScience. The Cloud Collective's algae farm is only a proof of concept installation for now.

Algae

Photo courtesy of the Cloud Collective

Another unique way to address air pollution: eHighways. The Epoch Times reported that an air pollution agency “will test a one-mile stretch of an electric highway or ‘eHighway’ starting next summer” in Carson, California. Instead of relying on diesel fuel, trucks will be powered by electrical wires similar to light rail systems. As a result, trucks will produce zero emissions. 

eHighway

Photo courtesy of Scania

Can algae farms and eHighways play roles in solving our air pollution woes? Considering that the BBC News report we mentioned earlier concluded “there probably is no place on Earth without pollution,” these two innovative ideas are certainly a start.

Top photo courtesy of the Cloud Collective