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World’s First Algae-Powered Building Completed In Hamburg

Algae powered building by ARUP

It might be a while before algae becomes a viable source of car and jet fuel for the many, but this new residential building in Hamburg, Germany shows off a way we can put the biomass to good use.

Known as the BIQ House, the building is covered in panels filled with algae and pumps water, nutrients, and compressed CO2 between 129 bioreactors. Energy from the sun allows the algae to multiply, which the system collects and converts into biogas to be burned in a boiler. When combined with rooftop solar panels and a heat recovery system, the building is 100% energy independent. The panels are less than an inch thick and cover about 2,150 square feet on the south-facing sides of the building.

“Algae will be cultivated for the generation of energy but also to control the light inflow and shading of the building. The facade will be constantly in motion and changing its color,” said Anna Vietinghoff, exhibition spokesperson. “Production of regenerative energy will not take place in an invisible energy center but will be an explicit component of the architectural concept.”

The project is a collaboration between Spitterwerk Architects, Strategic Science Consult, Colt, and ARUP, the panel designer and installer. The goal is to power entire buildings with this technology at very low costs, while also absorbing CO2 in dense urban areas. Sounds like a great way to tackle 2 problems with one project, doesn’t it?

Image: Algae-powered building by ARUP

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