Welcome to the Y.our E.nvironment O.f the W.eek!
We’re sharing inspiring and influential project solutions to increase the presence of design in our practice as we have the responsibility of shaping environments in the world for ourselves and the future.
Friday, August 16, 2013
Microalgae Facade? Really!
The following is an
article about The BIQ
house which will become the world’s first pilot project to showcase a
bioreactive façade. Why? I'm glad you asked. Reportedly, the
microalgae harvests solar
thermal heat and algae in a closed loop to be stored and then fermented
to generate hot water. How would you push this technology further??
The world’s first full-scale bioreactive façade at the BIQ house
in Germany is going ‘live’ as microalgae are fed into the system for the first
The tiny green algae
will play a huge role in determining the future potential of this technology,
which aims to provide shade and a renewable fuel source for the experimental
The BIQ house was
built as part of this year’s International Building Exhibition (IBA) in
Hamburg. With 200m² of integrated photo-bioreactors, this innovative
passive-energy house generates microalgae biomass and heat as renewable energy
resources. At the same time, the system integrates additional functionalities
such as dynamic shading, thermal insulation and noise abatement, highlighting
the full potential of this technology.
The microalgae used in
the facades are cultivated in flat panel glass bioreactors measuring 2,5m x
0,7m. In total, 129 bioreactors have been installed on the south west and south
east faces of the four-storey residential building. The heart of the system is
the fully automated energy management centre where solar thermal heat and algae
are harvested in a closed loop to be stored and then fermented to generate hot
"SolarLeaf", this innovative façade system is the result of three
years of research and development by Colt International based on a bio-reactor
concept developed by SSC Ltd and design work led by the international design consultant
and engineering firm, Arup. Funding support came from the German Government’s
“ZukunftBau” research initiative.
“We’ve done the
research. We’ve got the units in place. Now as we add the microalgae we will
see for the first time how the bioreactor façade operates in a real life
situation. It is a test for the technology, but it also represents a huge step
forward. If we can demonstrate that microalgae biofaçades can become a viable
new source of sustainable energy production, we can transform the urban
environment, as well as providing architects with a new source of inspiration.”
—Jan Wurm, Arup’s
Europe Research Leader
biofaçade goes live on 25 April 2013 when the technology will be presented in
detail to the media and the team will publish comprehensive documentation on
This new system is
going to be distributed through Colt International.