A team of innovators has come up with an ingenious new bioreactor that uses algae to capture and process carbon from the atmosphere.
The Eos Bioreactor, which was developed by Austin-based tech company Hypergiant Industries, uses AI to optimize algae growth, carbon capture, and algae output.
Since algae is 400 times better at sequestering carbon than trees, the reactor can process about two tons of oxygen in a year, which is about the same as an acre of trees.
According to the Hypergiant website, algae is a single-celled organism that is “considered one of nature’s most efficient machines” because of its ability to multiply rapidly through the absorption of sunlight and carbon dioxide. Not only that, it can be grown nearly anywhere and requires very few nutrients to survive.
With machine intelligence, the designers improved the efficiency of their design to use autonomous health monitoring for a machine that is aware of—and can react to—its surroundings. By constantly monitoring and managing the amount and type of light, available CO2, temperature, PH, biodensity, harvest cycles, and more, the reactor can create the perfect environment to maximize carbon sequestration.
As the algae consumes CO2, it also produces biomass, which can then be harvested and processed to create fuel, oils, nutrient-rich high-protein food sources, fertilizers, plastics, cosmetics, and more.
Measuring in at just 3 by 3 feet wide, the compact device is designed to only take up a small amount of urban space compared to similar bioreactor prototypes. Hypergiant plans to release the blueprints for the bioreactor to the online maker community later this year with the goal of empowering individuals to create similar, smaller and modular devices for use in residential units.
Furthermore, the company will focus on the use of recycled ocean plastics to create the devices and encourages the community to do so as well. Additional details on productization will be announced in 2020.
“Our goal at Hypergiant Industries is to use the world’s best technologies to solve the world’s biggest problems,” said Hypergiant CEO and founder, Ben Lamm.
“Excess carbon in our atmosphere is driving a number of massive catastrophes for our planet and pushing us to get off-planet and colonize space. I want humanity to colonize space because I want to explore the cosmos to better understand our place within it—I don’t want us to colonize space because we are running away from our home planet. This device is one of our first efforts focused on fixing the planet we are on.”