Posted on April 29, 2019 by staff

World first ‘BioSolar’ leaf could tackle air pollution


Imperial College London is to collaborate with start-up Arborea to develop pioneering a ‘BioSolar Leaf’ technology which could improve air quality.

The technology purifies the air through the photosynthesis of microscopic plants, removing greenhouse gases from the environment whilst generating breathable oxygen.

Arborea, which develops bionic leaves, created the cultivation system which facilitates the growth of tiny plant-life such as microalgae on large solar panel-like structures.

The panels can be installed on land, buildings and other developments to improve surrounding air quality.

The team say that Arborea’s cultivation system can remove carbon dioxide and produce breathable oxygen at a rate equivalent to a hundred trees from the surface area of just a single tree.

The system also produces a sustainable source of organic biomass from which Arborea extracts nutritious food additives for plant-based food products.

Arborea was founded by alumnus Julian Melchiorri, who completed two masters in Innovation Design Engineering in 2014, a course administered jointly by Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art.

“We are proud to be part of the world-class innovation district that is flourishing at White City and excited about this new collaboration with Imperial,” said Melchiorri.

“In our ever-growing modern cities, cooperation between start-ups, academic institutions and governmental bodies is critical to enable and accelerate sustainable innovation that benefits both our society and environment.”

“When I founded Arborea my goal was to tackle climate change while addressing the critical issues related to the food system. This pilot plant will produce sustainable healthy food additives while purifying the air, producing oxygen and removing carbon dioxide from the surrounding environment.”

“It will provide the opportunity to fully harness Arborea’s BioSolar Leaf dual action in real operating conditions and help to unlock the technology’s full potential.”