Tech & Science
The BioSolar Leaf Project could soon clean the air of major cities
This technology can do the work of 100 trees in the space of only one.
ree planting has been the best way to remove carbon from the atmosphere and to slow down global warming. Some countries like China and India are leading the world in planting trees, and green belts are forming across Africa and in cities worldwide.
Now, new British scientists have come up with a way for large cities to reap the benefits of having thousands of trees in places where planting thousands of trees is not an option.
London-based startup Arborea has developed a technology that purifies air through the photosynthesis of tiny microscopic plants. This is the same method that trees use to remove greenhouse gases and create oxygen.
According to Arborea, the BioSolar leaf can clean more air, more effectively than most trees and can do the work of 100 trees in the same surface space of only one. That's because the microscopic plants are grown on solar panels that can be installed on buildings, roofs or on the ground.
As an added bonus, Arborea's founder Julian Melchiorri said that the BioSolar leaves can grow nutritious plant proteins at the same time. The startup's mission is to "accelerate the global transition to sustainable food by producing the most sustainable and best healthy food ingredients through the most advanced organic cultivation system."
A trial pilot was launched in April 2019 between the startup and Imperial College London, with the school providing the funding for the BioSolar Leaf cultivation system, according to an Imperial College press release.
The hope is that the pilot program will become a showcase for schools and communities on how new innovative technologies are addressing environmental and social issues.
“Air pollution is one of London’s most urgent challenges, and Imperial is committed to finding sustainable and resilient solutions to this threat. This collaboration with Arborea is an exceptional opportunity to showcase the power of Cleantech at our White City Campus," Professor Neil Alford, associate provost (academic planning) at Imperial College London said in the press release.
Imperial College London – located in the Hammersmith and Fulham borough – is working with the local council on a partnership to transform the White City Campus into an innovation district through close collaboration between academics, entrepreneurs, and the local community.
Steven Cowan, the borough leader, said that "this cutting-edge biotech is the latest and most radical innovation to come out of the White City biotech hub – the cornerstone of the Hammersmith & Fulham industrial strategy. The Imperial campus in White City, including the I-HUB, is already changing the world, and shows what can be achieved when a council, a world-leading academic institution and business come together to lead the way and grow a local economy that works for all.”
Cleaning the air, reducing greenhouse gasses, and creating sustainable food at the same time is a triple win for the Imperial College, Arborea, and the city of London. This type of innovative new technology will go a long way in meeting the goals of the Paris Accords and slowing global warming.