Phytoplankton are marine micro organisms that photosynthesize-- in other words, they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. And Yannie Tan had an idea that phytoplankton could be potentially used in urban areas to reduce carbon emissions. After many layers of research of finding the right types of materials, she discovered material called expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE), which is used in sports jackets due to their “breathable” and waterproof capabilities. After many attempts of redesigning the materials, Yannie created a “phytoplankton packet”, where the two materials were glued together to create a sustainable container for the liquid phytoplankton solution.
Applications for these phytoplankton packets include placing them on rooftops in order to maximize sunlight exposure, indoor uses in order to improve the O2 levels of a room, or outer space applications in order to enhance limited oxygenated environments. In terms of cities with limited-space, phytoplankton packets would be more practical as trees take more area. This innovative use of phytoplankton will not only positively impact our urban environments, but could (at a larger scale) help reduce the effects of anthropogenic carbon dioxide in a more economical, immediate and convenient manner as the world moves towards renewable energy sources. Yannie hopes to see future technology that helps support green technology by 2080.