Belgrade has found a remarkable solution to try to clean up their dirty and polluted air, with an innovation they call a ‘liquid tree’.

This photo-bioreactor is a solution to minimize greenhouse gases as well as improve air quality from pollution. The liquid tree is made up of six hundred liters of water and microalgae, binding carbon dioxide and producing pure oxygen through photosynthesis. 

Dr. Ivan Spasojevic, one of the authors of the project from the Institute for Multidisciplinary Research at the University of Belgrade, said, “The microalgae replaces two, 10-year-old trees or 200 square meters of lawn. The system is the same because both trees and grass perform photosynthesis and bind carbon dioxide. The advantage of microalgae is that they are 10 to 50 times more efficient than trees. Our goal is not to replace forests but to use this system to fill those urban pockets where there is no space for planting trees.”

With Belgrade being the fourth most polluted city in Serbia, due to two large coal plants nearby, their need for clean air is vital. In fact, it may even be life-saving, as in scientists claimed that Serbia had the most pollution-caused deaths per capita in 2019. According to some activists, pollution is so bad there that it can be visibly seen.

This liquid tree is designed to clean up the polluted air and replace it with fresh air, much like a living tree would. But instead of building more trees in the city, like they do in more rural areas to lower carbon dioxide emissions, this is done with an artificial one. Only this can do it much faster and easier.

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