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Hope is Green - Can Algae Save the World?

February 20, 2024

Using algae to solve humanity’s most pressing problems - that’s the ambitious aim of a team of researchers from Germany. After all, algae are posessed of staggering superpowers: for example, the ability to bind CO2.

Grün ist die Hoffnung
Image: SWR

Algae can also be used to make plastic substitutes and even medication.

Grün ist die Hoffnung
Image: SWR

For a research project called "Waste to value”, Kaiserslautern University of Applied Sciences biologist Michael Lakatos and his team are investigating the potential uses of microalgae. Some species form limestone, which could be used to make bio-cement - thereby reducing CO₂.





Grün ist die Hoffnung
Image: SWR

Other forms of algae could serve as a biologically-based plastic substitute. Yet others could produce edible dyes - using sunlight and CO₂. The researchers are traveling the world in search of especially talented algae and bacteria.





Grün ist die Hoffnung
Image: SWR


The filmmakers accompany the team members for almost a year - even following them into a Spanish cave used to emulate life on Mars. After all, algae could have many potential uses in space, including as a foodstuff for astronauts.




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