Environment

Algae-fueled bioreactor soaks up CO2 400x more effectively than trees

Algae-fueled bioreactor soaks ...
Hypergiant Industries plans to share further details about bringing its bioreactor to market in 2020
Hypergiant Industries plans to share further details about bringing its bioreactor to market in 2020
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The Eos Bioreactor prototype captures and sequesters carbon from the atmosphere
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The Eos Bioreactor prototype captures and sequesters carbon from the atmosphere
The algae inside the Eos Bioreactor lives inside a tube system and water tank within the device, which is pumped full of air and exposed to artificial light
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The algae inside the Eos Bioreactor lives inside a tube system and water tank within the device, which is pumped full of air and exposed to artificial light
Hypergiant Industries claims that the technology packed into its Eos Bioreactor is so efficient, that it is 400 times more effective at capturing carbon than trees taking up the same footprint
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Hypergiant Industries claims that the technology packed into its Eos Bioreactor is so efficient, that it is 400 times more effective at capturing carbon than trees taking up the same footprint
Machine learning software oversees the whole process inside the Eos Bioreactor, managing light, temperatures, and pH levels for maximum output
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Machine learning software oversees the whole process inside the Eos Bioreactor, managing light, temperatures, and pH levels for maximum output
Hypergiant Industries plans to share further details about bringing its bioreactor to market in 2020
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Hypergiant Industries plans to share further details about bringing its bioreactor to market in 2020

When it comes to organic processes that we can leverage to tackle the runaway problem of climate change, the carbon-absorbing abilities of algae may be one of the most potent tools at our disposal. For years, scientists have been studying this natural phenomena in hope of tackling greenhouse gas emissions and producing eco-friendly biofuels, and now US company Hypergiant Industries has packaged the tech up into a box-shaped machine that can soak up as much carbon from the atmosphere as an acre of trees.

Through the process of photosynthesis, the aquatic plant algae soaks up carbon dioxide, water and sunlight to produce energy. Naturally, the plant will use this energy to multiply and grow, but scientists have been experimenting with ways to capture it and convert it into biofuels instead, with some promising results.

The newly announced Eos Bioreactor might look like someone left a giant Xbox in the garden, but Hypergiant Industries isn’t looking to play games here. The reactor measures 3 x 3 x 7 ft (90 x 90 x 210 cm) and is designed to be installed in urban environments where it captures and sequesters carbon from the atmosphere, and produces clean bio-fuels that could be used to further reduce a building's carbon footprint.

The algae inside the Eos Bioreactor lives inside a tube system and water tank within the device, which is pumped full of air and exposed to artificial light
The algae inside the Eos Bioreactor lives inside a tube system and water tank within the device, which is pumped full of air and exposed to artificial light

The reactor uses a specific strain of algae called chlorella vulgaris, which is claimed to soak up much more CO2 than any other plant. The algae lives inside a tube system and water tank within the device, which is pumped full of air and exposed to artificial light, giving the plant the food it needs to thrive and produce biofuels for harvesting.

Hypergiant Industries claims that the harvesting technology packed into its Eos Bioreactor is so efficient it is 400 times more effective at capturing carbon than trees taking up the same footprint. It attributes this to its machine learning software that oversees the whole process, managing light, temperatures, and pH levels for maximum output.

The company is still a little ways of offering a commercial product, however. It says later this year it will make the designs for the bioreactor publicly available in the hope that it will inspire others to come up with similar solutions. It plans to share further details about bringing the reactor to market in 2020.

Source: Hypergiant Industries

27 comments
Bob Stuart
I think that what we need most is not compact dimensions, but pure solar input. This sounds more like an energy converter, with the usual losses.
DaveWesely
Yep, lets convert atmospheric CO2 into oil so we can burn it and put it back into the atmosphere. The solution to climate change isn't that difficult, and it doesn't involve recycling CO2 back into the atmosphere.
Cryptonoetic
FTA, "...exposed to artificial light". What a scam.
Michael Bradbury
Seedlings can be had for $1 a piece in bulk and the trees last 50 years. Let me know when that is down to $400 and that kind of longevity. ;)
Robert in Vancouver
Even though we are not sure if C02 is causing any problems (no, the science is not settled), we are focused and determined to remove as much C02 as possible. Then what. Can anybody honestly say they know what will happen if we remove too much CO2?
nick101
Bamboo is 10x more efficient than typical trees, and it's cheap and easy to grow!
Troublesh00ter
Strikes me that replanting the Amazonian rainforest, keeping people from BURNING said rainforest, and generally NOT using fuels which contain carbon compounds would be a far better way to deal with carbon dioxide.
BobMunck
Robert in Vancouver: Yeah, the science is "settled." Don't believe everything the fossil fuel companies tell you; they don't care if your grandchildren die in agony as long as they can make a profit. "... if we remove too much CO2?" It wouldn't matter, because the only way that can happen is if the human race goes extinct, and that's only likely if we continue to have way too much CO2. Pretty obviously, the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere described in this article is only effective against global warming if we find a way to sequester that CO2, such as pumping it under a tectonic plate.
Rasoio Bluculo
Robert in Vancouver: The science between CO2 and the Earth's temperature is established scientific fact. "We know CO2 absorbs and re-emits longwave radiation (Tyndall, 1859) . The theory of greenhouse gases predicts that if we increase the proportion of greenhouse gases, more warming will occur (Arrhenius, 1896)." "Scientists have measured the influence of CO2 on both incoming solar energy and outgoing long-wave radiation. Less longwave radiation is escaping to space at the specific wavelengths of greenhouse gases. Increased longwave radiation is measured at the surface of the Earth at the same wavelengths."
RFM
To 'Robert in Vancouver': The science is settled for all who have read objective scientific analysis. It's only not settled for those who willfully wish they could continue driving their Chrysler 440 cu inch forever.