The largest source of planet-warming emissions is energy consumption for industrial and domestic purposes. According to The International Energy Agency, two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions are associated with fossil fuel use for electricity, transportation, heating, and industry.
Fortunately, Adán Ramirez Sánchez, a 23-year-old Mexican biotechnologist, found a solution in algae. His invention – Intelligent Solar Biopanels made of microalgae and carbon nanoparticles – generates clean energy and oxygen while absorbing carbon dioxide. Meaning, they combine nature with technology to clean the air while generating electricity.
The system work by taking advantage of the natural process by which plants, some bacteria, and algae produce energy and organic matter (known as photosynthesis) using carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and sunlight.
The green, semi-transparent triangular Biopanels, manufactured by Mr. Sánchez’s company GreenFluidics, measure one meter on each side. They are aesthetically pleasing and practical; so, they can be placed almost anywhere (windows, walls, roofs, and any surface that gets sun) and can even be used to make works of art.
The Biopanels are entirely biodegradable and made of an abundant renewable marine material, a fresh contrast to current solar panels on the market, which generate landfills when they’re discarded.
They also produce biomass, which can make secondary products like fertilizer and contribute further to a circular economy model.
Mr. Sánchez plans to eventually install sensors in the solar panels that can monitor the environment. Like this, they’ll become part of a network that provides data to address climate change.
He also envisions them being used in the colonization of Mars. He sees GreenFluids as the first Mexican space biotechnology-oriented company.
The Biopanels can be used on Mars to produce energy, create oxygen safely, and provide sustenance (the algae biomass) for astronauts and space settlers.