By Amira Shehata
Sunday, November 26, 2023 at 08:00 AM
British company LNER has revealed strange plans to grow microalgae on the side of railway tracks. The algae will capture carbon dioxide (CO2), the transport company said. To reduce carbon emissions.
According to the British newspaper “Daily Mail”, Danny Gonzalez, LNER’s chief digital and innovation officer, said: “We firmly believe that technology is key to finding new ways to reduce our impact on the planet.”
According to Our World in Data, national railways currently emit about 35 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer, which is 170 grams per kilometer or far less than the impact of flying, which is 246 grams per kilometer.
However, LNER says there is always more to achieve and is now taking extraordinary steps to reduce its footprint. Algae, while not pretty to look at, is very effective at absorbing carbon dioxide.
“Algae have the capacity to scavenge carbon dioxide,” says biologist Rafael Coffin of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: they absorb as much carbon as all the plants and trees on Earth combined.
Algae are naturally more efficient carbon scavengers than terrestrial plants because they do not expend biological resources to develop the supporting infrastructure of trunks, roots, and branches; Their entire surface area is devoted to photosynthesis.
The LNER collaborated with technology start-up Algacroft on a pilot project, with an initial five-month trial testing the feasibility of using microalgae bioreactors to capture carbon around railway stations.
This has proven successful, with microalgae being successfully grown outdoors in the UK climate, and LNER is taking things up a notch with a phase two trial.
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