A building in Hamburg, Germany is entirely powered by algae.

The Solar Leaf BIQ (Bio Intelligent Quotient) commercial-residential building boasts 200 square meters of algae-filled bioreactive paneling. It supplies the building with all the energy it needs and reduces carbon dioxide emissions by six tonnes a year. Biomass built into panel glass generates heat and power, also acting as a responsive light and sound barrier. The building was created by Arup in conjunction with Splitterwerk.

This represents an excellent real-life example that it is possible to integrate nature and organic processes into what is conventionally conceived of as artificial built environments.

The project represents an excellent real-life example that it is possible to integrate nature and organic processes into what is conventionally conceived of as artificial built environments.

Algae-filled solar panels are the center of the house’s energy cycle. Abundant sunlight stimulates the growth of the biomass in the panels supplying more shade on demand. At the same time they absorb solar energy and produce heat, which is used to heat the building and its water supply. I.e. solar energy is absorbed and converted or deflected as needed by these semiopaque, algae-filled panels. On the other hand, the biomass is a resource for biogas production, which is used to provide electrical energy and more heat.

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Algae Powered Architecture – Eluxe Magazine

By Jody McCutcheon Talk about “green” buildings. Now you can quite literally, because architects and engineers have pushed the design envelope to bring sustainability and the battle against climate change into the domain of the building complex. Consider it better living through algae. The idea is to incorporate algae farms into the building structure.

Algae-Fueled Building: World’s First Bio-Adaptive Facade

Bio-reactors and micro-algae sound like the stuff of science fiction, but this is the real deal: biomass built into panel glass generates heat and power, also acting as a responsive light and sound barrier, all in one brilliant new building in Hamburg.

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