Algae in German Building Provides Shade While Making Biogas
April 17, 2013 5:34 PM
System helps heat building, provides shade, and grows algal biofuel
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.
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.
Much of the previous "green building" research has focused on
putting solar panels
. 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,
, "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."
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