We all know that trees help us absorb carbon dioxide (C02) from the air and recycle it into oxygen (O2). We also know that every day, more and more trees are being cut down. This practice needs to be halted, but as an alternative, scientists in London have come up with an innovative idea that could help. The concept comes in the form of curtains – not those of cloth, but ‘bio-curtains’ that are full of algae.
What are bio-curtains? Bio-curtains are plastic sheets that are filled with natural algae because it can naturally and cleverly turn CO2 into O2. So natural algae is harvested, and added to a gel to make it more efficient. This mix is then pumped into the curtains. When the sun shines on it, photosynthesis takes place. The polluted city air is drawn in from the bottom of the curtain. As the air passes up through the algae in the sheets the carbon dioxide is used by the algae and converted into oxygen. Voila! This oxygen then magically comes out of the top of the curtain! The scientists behind the idea say that one bio-curtain = one mature tree in the amount of air it can recycle.
What are some of the challenges with this idea? It is a brilliant idea, although the inventors, architects at EcoLogic Studios, know there is still some work to be done on the design. At the moment, only 70% of the curtain is biodegradable, the rest is plastic, and they are working hard to find solutions. The algae also have to be maintained regularly, and that is more expensive than planting trees, though they take up less space. Also, they say that these curtains have to be installed on a large scale to make a significant difference.
Where can we see these bio-curtains? Currently, they hang at the Customs and Revenue House in Dublin and were recently installed at the House of Nobility Palace in Helsinki.
The UK has a goal to be carbon neutral by 2050. We hope the designers get all the help they can get to make them more efficient so that soon, we can all hang up our own ‘green’ curtains.
Written by: Pereena Lamba. Pereena is a freelance writer, editor and creative consultant. She is also co-author of Totally Mumbai.