Leading Spanish media on innovative Serbian idea for climate-resilient cities

Posted August 25, 2018

The first photobioreactor, an aquarium of modern design with microalgae, will be installed in the next few months in the city of Smederevo, report the leading Spanish media La VanguardiaDiario de Navarra and web portal Notife.com.

The use of microalgae to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) and release the oxygen is already evolving in Europe, said Ivan Spasojevic PhD from the Institute for Multidisciplinary Research in Belgrade. "However, this concept of a small photobioreactor and its installation in urban environment does not exist, we have invented it," says Spasojević, a Doctor of biophysics, who leads a group of nine researchers, scientists from the Institute.

The device, called LIQUID3, with a base of only three square meters, replaces the lawn of 400 square meters or two trees that were grown for the production of oxygen. "It takes 20 years for a tree to reach maturity, while our device can be set up in three to four hours", says Spasojević. The task of the urban photobioreactor is to counter the great release of carbon dioxide in urban centers, which often do not have enough trees and other greenery.

For this reason, this invention is ideal for high pollution areas, traffic routes, proximity to thermal power plants, industrial plants or densely populated areas. The price of the prototype is approximately 3,000 to 4,000 euros, however the serial production has not started yet. The system functions as a water reservoir with microalgae that absorbs carbon dioxide through photosynthesis and releases oxygen. "This is not a substitute for parks, but rather a compensation for places where they are not possible. This is the answer for areas where trees can not be planted," says Spasojević.

Dusica Stojiljkovic PhD, member of the research team, says the device is self-sustainable and it creates a biomass that can be used or sold as a quality fertilizer.

In late April 2018, this innovative idea was awarded by the "Climate Smart Urban Development Challenge" project, jointly implemented by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), with the financial support of the Global Environment Facility (GEF).