German engineers have developed a process that turns algae into a carbon-sequestering replacement for steel and concrete that is as climate friendly as it is strong.
“Algae in a pond may look flimsy. But scientists are using algae to develop industrial-strength material that’s as hard as steel but only a fraction of the weight,” reports Yale Climate Connections.
Making something very like steel from algae also “uses far less energy and produces far less carbon pollution” than the processes necessary to generate actual steel, or concrete.
And because living algae are CO2-storing powerhouses, so too will be the rock-hard carbon fibre substance that Thomas Brück of Munich’s Technical University and his team say they’ve created using algae oil.
“So you have this very new, advanced material where you can actually store atmospheric carbon indefinitely,” Brück told Yale.
All that’s needed, he added, is a lot more algae, so considerable funds will have to be put towards its cultivation.