(TED TALK) Incredible Living Algae Lamps Produce Food, Heat and Light!

If you’re someone who likes to spend their time at the health-food market then you’ve likely come across a nutritional supplement known as microalgae. Microalgae are sold as an incredible source of protein (which they are) but they can be used as so much more than just food for the health conscious. You can now use microalgae to heat and power your home and quite literally go green.

That’s right folks; you can now light up your home using algae that live inside of your lamps. The lamps were put together by designers Jacob Douenias and Ethan Frier and they were used as part of an art installation at the Mattress Factory; which is a division of the Pittsburgh Museum of Contemporary Art in Pennsylvania. The display features Spirulina algae contained in glass bioreactors to keep everything lit up and heated in a display of a beautiful futuristic home.

If you’re someone who enjoys getting protein from microalgae then it gets even better; if you feel like it you can even open up the lamp and eat some of the algae. Of course you should always filter and dry the algae before eating it! The designers hooked up with chefs and bartenders to come up with creative ways to use algae in food and drinks for special events to be held at the exhibit in the future.

If you’re wondering why you should use algae of all things to light up your home it’s that algae is great at surviving and thriving in the kinds of alkaline waters that can’t accommodate other bacteria. As the algae within the glass house continues to grow the liquid gets darker and starts absorbing even more light. The more light it absorbs the more light it can then give out to illuminate and heat the home.

Living Things explains that the glass reaches a point where individual spirulina filaments, which are only one third of a millimetre long and almost impossible to see with the naked eye, can be seen moving and mixing in the glass containers. As well as providing light and heat it should also provide quite a treat for the eyes to watch the algae move around.

There are three rooms in all across the exhibit; a living room, dining room, and a kitchen that doubles as a control center. These rooms also feature a whole range of different algae lamps. All of the lighting unites are connected using half a mile’s worth of plumbing, wiring, pumps, LED drivers and heater connectors. All of the wires and connections that make everything possible are kept contained inside of the cabinets and out of the way.

These glass containers and the do far more than just light up the home; they also work as photobioreactors that provide algae inside with heat, light, agitation and waste control. When the algae is ready to be eaten visitors to the display can use the 3D-printed controls kept in the kitchen to harvest the algae.

The installation is scheduled to remain open until March 2016.

Want more? Check out how Algae Could Change the Fossil Fuel Industry

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *