A British start-up company, called Arborea, has developed a type of green solar panel that does not produce electricity. Instead, the panels, which contain micro algae, diatoms and phytoplankton, clean carbon dioxide from the air while producing biomass that can be used for food production.
The company claims that a panel that has the same surface are as a tree, can produce oxygen and sequester carbon dioxide at 100 times the rate of the tree.
The other product of the photosynthesis is the microscopic algae and plankton which can be used to make food products of the future. They grow quickly and use less water and land than crops and livestock. They contain essential proteins and fatty acids as well as antioxidants and vitamins.
Although western diets are usually low in edible algae, they are gaining popularity and better known micro algae like spirulina and chlorella can be found in nutritional supplements, snack foods, pasta and more.
Find out more about the cultivation of algae for food products, cosmetics and health supplements, at the STELR Women in STEM pages and read about entrepreneur, Pia Winberg. She has started an Australian aquaculture company producing local species of algae. Among other things her company produces green pasta, corn chips and muesli containing the algae.