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German demonstration building features algae-powered façade

Exterior of carbon-neutral apartment complex consists of hollow glass panels containing micro-algae "farms."

March 06, 2013 |
Algae "farms" sandwiched between glass faade panels.

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.

The project, set to be completed this month, is a joint venture among Splitterwerk Architects, ARUP, Colt International, and Strategic Science Consult.


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