The Algae House

The Algae House

An apartment building in Germany presents the world’s first full-scale bioreactive façade. Its main source of energy is heat recovery, capturing energy not used in photosynthesis from the bioreactors. The façade also acts as a natural thermostat: thick algae growth in the summer keeps the sunlight out.

The two south-facing facades are covered in a shell of bioreactors, consisting of clear containers that create a controlled environment for an algae farm. Exposed to sunlight, the algae photosynthesize and absorbs CO2 as they grow. Nutrients and CO2 are circulated through the bioreactors to encourage growth. Periodically, the algae are collected and fermented in a nearby biomass plant, then burned to produce electricity. The technology was created by SSC Strategic Science Consult, which developed the building in collaboration with Arup, a design, engineering and consultancy firm; Colt International, a project management company; and Otto Wulff, a Hamburg construction firm. Demonstrating the efficiency of the algae building could not only prove a source of sustainable energy production, it could also shape future cities, according to Jan Wurm, Europe Research Leader for Arup. “If we can demonstrate microalgae facades, we can transform the urban environment [and provide] architects with a new source of inspiration.”

Credits: By Fionán O’Muircheartaigh at Green Futures. For more see: http://thisbigcity.net/green-building-apartment-powered-by-algae/