Can algae save our planet? How algae could help mitiage climate change

Can algae save our planet? How algae could help mitiage climate change

Algae have been making headlines recently as a promising solution to combat climate change. But are they a viable solution in mitigating climate change?

How algae can help fight climate change

Algae are aquatic organisms with photosynthetic abilities commonly found in oceans, lakes, and ponds. They are made up of carbohydrates, proteins, fatty compounds (lipids) and carotenoids (pigments responsible for their color).

Algaes have the potential to help mitigate carbon dioxide emissions and reduce the negative impact of global warming in several ways. 

One of the main ways that algae can help combat climate change is through photosynthesis. Like plants, algae use photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. In fact, it is estimated that algae can produce up to 70% of the world's oxygen. 

Another way that algae can help fight climate change is through carbon capture and utilization. This process of absorbing and storing carbon dioxide is called carbon sequestration. Thereby carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere, reducing the concentration of this greenhouse gas and aiding climate change mitigation. This captured carbon can then be used to create food supplements, biodegradable plastics, and biofuels. Algae can sequester more carbon than trees due to their faster growth, wider surface coverage, and greater biomass density.

Further application and potential of algae – Algae biotechnologies and food market

Apart from its inherent environmental benefits, algae have the potential to be used in a variety of industrial applications, such as wastewater treatment, fertilizer, and even fuel production. A company in California, called Algenol, has developed a process that uses algae to produce ethanol, a renewable and sustainable fuel. While this pilot project is still in its early development stages, in the future algae could potentially be used to reduce the need for traditional fossil fuels. By using algae in these applications, these industries can reduce the amount of harmful substances released into the environment and create more sustainable practices. However, currently, technological, and economical barriers prevent the widespread use of these biotechnologies.

Furthermore, algae have the potential to be used as a sustainable food source. Algae are a great source of nutrients, rich in protein, healthy fats, and various vitamins and minerals. They are already used as a food supplement in various products, such as smoothies and energy bars, and have the potential to become a mainstream food source.

Potential negative effects of algae

Whilst algae play a substantial part in aquatic life as a vital food source and despite the positive environmental effects, an ecological imbalance or overgrowth of algae can be also problematic. Decomposing dead algae can produce toxins and reduce oxygen levels, while dense areas of algae can block vital sunlight out impeding aquatic life to thrive. However, like all things in life, it is about creating and maintaining a healthy and balanced ecosystem that brings out the benefits of these organisms.

Can algae save our planet?

In conclusion, algae have the potential to be a game-changer in the fight against climate change. They can help mitigate carbon dioxide emissions, create sustainable food sources and products, and improve industrial practices. While there are still challenges to overcome, the potential benefits of algae make it a promising solution for a sustainable future. Yet, we shouldn't see it as a fix-it-all solution – widespread industry change and political action need to lead the way so that green biotechnologies can bring about lasting positive impact. 

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.