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Could Algae Be the Future of Renewable Energy?

Description:
As the scourge of ponds and swimming holes everywhere, algae frequently get a bad rep. These little green pests, however, play a very vital role in our ecosystem—and potentially the future of renewable energy. Photosynthetic algae are able to “eat” excess CO2 in the atmosphere and produce energy, which has led scientists to question whether they might be a potential (and plentiful) source of biofuel. Recently two Carnegie Mellon graduates, Jacob Douenias and Ethan Frier, created an exhibit called Living Things, which showcases how “algae energy” could someday provide a greener way to power homes. The exhibit, taking place through spring 2016 at Pittsburgh’s Mattress Factory Museum of Contemporary Art, is one part furniture design showcase, one part futuristic lab experiment. As part of the project, algae is sent through more than half-a-mile of intricate piping to feed into glass vessels, shaped like lamps and other home ephemera, filled with alkaline water.

Related Topics:
6. The amount of energy used by human society depends on many factors.
4. Various sources of energy are used to power human activities.

Associated Grade Levels:
1-23-45-67-89-1011-12Public

Related Sub-Topics

4.5 Humans generate electricity in multiple ways.

4.3 Fossil and biofuels are organic matter that contain energy captured from sunlight.

6.6 Behavior and design affect the amount of energy used by human society.