Calling All Divers, Micro Algae Scuba

Inadequate air supply is one of the top complaints from divers. They want to stay under water longer. There are rich marine resources, and therefore the combination of micro algae characteristics and a “rebreather” are applied in the Micro Algae Scuba concept.

When micro algae photosynthesize, they absorb carbon dioxide and convert it into carbohydrates, producing oxygen. The oxygen production of micro algae is 2 to 4 times that of tree oxygen production therefore applying micro algae characteristics with rebreathing technology in a biological scrubber to replace the original time-sensitive scrubber will enable longer dives with less weight.

Designer: Liu Chia-Wei


  • Theo says:

    However the greatest limiting factor for time spent underwater is the bends, so this only offers an increase at less than 10m depth.

  • Seamus Dubh says:

    That’s usually fixed by the what the designer is labeling ‘diluent’ gas.

  • Seamus Dubh says:

    What I’d like to know is what species of algae can purify/convert a 300ml volume of air @ a co2 concentration of 40,000 ppm in less then 20 seconds from such a small (wearable) unit.(I know a lot of things it could be better used for.) Also how is the algae contained to prevent clogging/disruption of the air flow.
    On an overall aesthetics note, LOOK at current re-breather designs, this is too cumbersome to wear let alone use properly.

  • Mike Barnard says:

    I’m with Seamus. This doesn’t pass the scientific credibility sniff test and it’s physically a poor design for scuba gear. Double fail.


  • IT Rush says:

    Awesome. I’m not a diver fanatic but really this work of art is just perfect for any divers out there.

  • Bauski says:

    If you’re not a diver, how can you then judge whetehr this is perfect for divers?

  • Liu, Chia-Wei says:

    This is the conceptual design of existing technologies, the future is to realize the need for more improvements.

  • Ray says:

    For this to work you’d need some super efficient algae, which would require a constant food supply. Also the amount of photosynthesis is dependent on the amount of energy absorbed by the algae (ie. the number of photons of a certain wavelength). This means that for this to work effectively, you’ll have to provide ample amounts of energy from the LEDs, thereby requiring larger and possibly more powerful batteries. With you carrying around both food and batteries, this would in essence be no different than regular scubaing. Your time underwater would still be limited, only this time by both your battery life as well as your food supply. Would you not be better off trying to hydrolyze the water around you for oxygen? Lastly, how often do you have to maintain your algae cultures? Is it more trouble than it’s worth?

  • engineering_thoughts says:

    I’m a diver, limited air supply is not one of my top complaints.

    My top complaint is that of saturation and the subsequent risk of decompression sickness. Bodily tissue absorbing the max partial pressure of gas is the reason for dive tables. The deeper you go, the faster you reach dangerous limits (for recreational diving). Alas, this is a physics issue that can’t really be overcome.

    All that said… Re-breathers are an option and are much less complicated than this proposed deisgn.

  • stephen russell says:

    Test this in Caribbean, Med Sea, PR, Hawaii, Love to rent & sample diving with this vs std oxygen tanks.
    Use in a 007 movie??

  • Justin says:

    wearing that will significantly slow down the diving speed, whether up or down, maybe a more streamline shape. I also dun agree of having micro algae to power the breathing portion. Perharps a better rebreather design and functionality may solve the problems of the current ones. And there’s little chance sunlight will reach to the device if its user is very deep.

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