In a stunning breakthrough for the environment, scientists have figured out a way to convert CO2 into a variety of plastics and fuels, paving the way for low-cost carbon sequestration and eco-friendly manufacturing for chemicals.

The research team managed to successfully develop ‘living factories’ of light-powered bacteria that eat CO2 and nitrogen and turn them into biodegradable plastic, fuel, and biodiesel. The researchers used light activate to activate the cells of bacteria which, in turn, consumed CO2 and nitrogen without needing an energy source to carry out the biochemical conversion. Red wavelengths were used to trigger the microbial to consume CO2 to produce plastic, while green wavelengths caused them to consume nitrogen to produce ammonia.

The team envisions an ideal future in which homes and businesses would pipe their CO2 emissions into holding ponds where microbes would convert them.