This bulb is powered by algae

Not content with CFLs or LEDs? Looking for an even greener way to light up your life? Hungarian designer Gyula Bodonyi’s “AlgaeBulb” concept might be right up your alley.

Algae has huge potential as a source of green energy, but up until now, using it required a fairly big facility and lots and lots of algae. Bodonyi’s design brings the large-scale algal-cultivation system down to the micro level, creating a tiny power plant inside a light bulb that needs no outside electricity.

Image via Gyula Bodonyi/Behance

Looking like an elongated egg shell, the larger portion of the AlgaeBulb is simply a receptacle for the microorganisms that will be supplying the power. “Using a small air pump compressor, tank, and hydrophobic material, it creates just enough electricity to power the LED for limited durations,” reports Yanko Design.

According to the designer, the pump would compress air into the algae tank covered with a hidrophobic material, which would keep the fluidic content in the tank while letting the air flow free. “The cover of the tank is a matte translucent policarbonat shell that leads the LED’s light through the body and luminates both the algae and the interior where it’s placed in,” writes Gyula.

The design is still very much conceptual, so there’s no real answer to where the algae would come from, but it’s certainly a captivating idea. If you had your own algae supply, you could simply dump out the spent microorganisms, refill the tank, and continue enjoying free, clean light indefinitely.

Image via Gyula Bodonyi/Behance

* Beth Buczynski, EarthTechling