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China recruits algae to combat climate change

China recruits algae to combat climate change

The Guardian reports that Chinese firm behind ambitious plan to breed microalgae in greenhouse with the potential to absorb carbon emissions.


The garish gunk coursing through a greenhouse filled with transparent pipes appears to belong on the set of a particularly slimy episode of Star Trek.

Multiplying rapidly as it flows through tubes, stacked 14 high in four long rows, the organism thickens and darkens like the bioweapon of a deranged scientist.

But this is not a science fiction horror story, it is one of humankind’s most ambitious attempts to recruit algae in the fight against climate change.

Developed by a groundbreaking Chinese firm, ENN, the greenhouse is a bioreactor that breeds microalgae, one of the fastest growing organisms on the planet, with carbon captured from gasified coal.

China is the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, largely because it relies on coal for 70 per cent of its power. Almost none of the carbon dioxide is captured, partly because there is no profitable way of using it

Algae may be the answer. The organism can absorb carbon far more quickly than trees, a quality that has long attracted international scientists seeking a natural method of capturing the most abundant greenhouse gas.

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