What can generate clean energy, biomass for fertilizers, convert CO2 into oxygen, and be used in space? Algae.

Pursuing this incredible organism’s potential is young Adán Ramirez Sánchez—23-year-old Mexican biotechnician and winner of MIT’s 2019 Latin American Innovators Under 35—who has made solar panels powered by algae instead of minerals mined from the earth.

His Intelligent Solar Biopanels, made at his firm GreenFluidics, are one part microalgae, one part nanotechnology, and they absorb CO2 before converting it into electricity and oxygen, potentially solving two of the largest problems of our time.

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If you paid attention in biology class, you may notice a similarity between this and the evolutionary strategy of photosynthesis, the method by which plants generate energy from CO2 and sunlight.

The invention just gets better and better however, as the panels are totally biodegradable—since they are made from algae and abundant marine material—and they produce biomass while running, which can be collected and used as fertilizer.

Measuring a meter across, the green triangular panels are quirky and avant-garde, and can lend an office a unique touch while purifying the air within.