Clothes That Do Photosynthesis

Would you give the shirt off your back to save the environment? Well, maybe you won't have to with Post Carbon Lab's nifty photosynthesis coatings for clothes.

Post Carbon Lab is using the same principle with another algae prototype – clothes that photosynthesise. The start-up in London has created photosynthesis coating, a layer of living algae on the fabric of garments that absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen, turning the carbon into sugar. One large T-shirt – nearly a square metre of material – generates about as much oxygen as a six-year-old oak tree, according to the co-founder Dian-Jen Lin.

The start-up has been working with designers and industry to translate its photosynthesis coating into a marketable product, and Lin said it could be used in shoes, backpacks, curtains, pillow cases, umbrellas and building canopies.

The care instructions were rather different to normal clothes, she said. Wearing algae was not without its perils. “You can’t put it into your dark wardrobe. It needs light and carbon dioxide, so you have to put it in a well-ventilated area, like the back of your chair.” Washing machines would harm the algae, so “it’s handwash only – you have to be a bit careful. I wouldn’t recommend this coating for your underwear but maybe for a windbreaker or a jacket.”

(Via The Guardian.)

Science fiction fans are reminded of the amazing living bio-fabrics from JG Ballard's 1970 story Say Goodby to the Wind.

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