German demonstration building features algae-powered façade
Exterior of carbon-neutral apartment complex consists of hollow glass panels containing micro-algae "farms."
A demonstration project under way at the International Building Exhibition in Hamburg, Germany, is touted as the world's first algae-powered building. Two sides of the net-zero apartment facility, dubbed BIQ, have a bright green façade consisting of hollow glass panels filled with algae and water. Sunlight makes the algae reproduce, with nutrients and CO2 provided by a network of pipes. The resulting pulp can be harvested periodically and then fermented in an external biogas plant, generating energy. According to the Building Team, the panels also do a good job of insulating the facility. A heat-recovery technology is incorporated in the piping.