“Algae-powered” building

Date:6 June 2013 Tags:,

Living buildings that generate their own power could be the way of the future. German architectural firm Splitterwerk and engineering company Arup have just unveiled their latest collaboration – the world’s first “algae-powered” building, dubbed the BIQ.

Here’s how it works: the sun-facing sides of the building feature a second outer shell comprising glass-panelled facades filled with microalgae (tiny plants no larger than bacteria). The algae are fed a constant supply of liquid nutrients and carbon dioxide via a separate water circuit running through the façade. There, with the aid of sunlight, the algae can photosynthesise and grow, flourishing and multiplying in a regular cycle. The harvest-ready algae are separated from the rest and transferred as a thick pulp to the technical room of the BIQ, where the tiny plants are fermented in an external biogas plant. Apparently, algae are particularly well suited for power generation as they produce up to five times more biomass per hectare as terrestrial plants. They also contain many oils that can be used to produce energy.


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