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System helps heat building, provides shade, and grows algal biofuel

When Austria's Splitterwerk Architects called on engineers and architects to build buildings of the future for the International Building Exhibition, even they might not have imagined what the London-based Arup Group would come up with.

Arup's engineers designed a facade composed of glass louvers made by German consultancy SSC Strategic Science Consult that provides a number of green perks.  First, the system's fluid is used as a heat exchange system to help heat the building on cold, but sunny days.

At the same time the system stakes a claim to acting as the world's first "living building", with the louver circuit containing live microalgae.  Special systems feed the algae carbon dioxide and nutrients.

Algae facade


The microalgae are a special genetically engineered strain that can be processed into biogas. The algae provide shade inside the building.  After a growth cycle they are harvested in-house as a thick pulp and then fermented into biogas in an interior fermenter.

The system has been installed in the BIQ building as a proof-of-concept.

Algae facade

Much of the previous "green building" research has focused on putting solar panels as windows.  At the same time many alternative fuel experts have worked to formulate designs for algae biofuel farms.  The Arup project is perhaps the first real-world project to inject algae into a facade-type growing construct.

Jan Wurm, a research leader at Arup, brags to de zeen, "To use bio-chemical processes for adaptive shading is a really innovative and sustainable solution, so it is great to see it being tested in a real-life scenario.  As well as generating renewable energy and providing shade to keep the inside of the building cooler on sunny days, it also creates a visually interesting look that architects and building owners will like."

Sources: IBA, de zeen



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Ok
By Ammohunt on 4/18/2013 11:40:35 AM , Rating: 2
Biogas is all fine and nice but what about producing food?




RE: Ok
By Etsp on 4/18/2013 2:04:33 PM , Rating: 2
I'm pretty sure that after the oil is extracted, the leftovers can be used as livestock feed or fertilizer...


RE: Ok
By seamonkey79 on 4/18/2013 3:13:47 PM , Rating: 2
Plus if we can get away from biofuel coming from corn ethanol, it's a step in the right direction even if *this* doesn't produce food. I'm as interested in decreasing the dependance on domestic corn for fuel as I am in petroleum dependance.


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