Biofuel is a sexy topic right now, and we’ve seen everything from crop waste to algae to even tuberculosis as possible energy sources. But how about whole buildings that can generate biofuel? While the idea is still largely hypothetical, architects like UPI 2M in Croatia are jumping on the bandwagon and coming up with fascinating designs for biofuel production stations. Their project, dubbed ‘Biooctanic‘, is a series of cactus-shaped biofuel crop production towers located in an urban setting at the site of petrol (gas) stations. The idea is that by placing these sci-fi-esque fuel producing centers at the refill locations, the towers can act as filters to help improve urban air quality as well as lower transportation costs.
Based on the research of UPI 2M, the Biooctanic biofuel production towers would use algae and bamboo as feedstocks. UPI 2M’s research led them to the conclusion that algae and bamboo would result in the best production results (maximum amount of biofuels per unit of building surface area). They also took into consideration the cost of technologies required for cultivation and processing, growth rate, and the annual input-to-yield ratio.
While originally envisioned for cities in Croatia, this concept could be applied in any urban setting. The benefits of biofuel generation at the site of sale and distribution include reduced transportation costs, reduced emissions, greater efficiency and, much like vertical farming, urban biofuel generation that does not take up arable land that could otherwise be used for farming.
The Biooctanic Towers would also help improve air quality by acting as filters and air recuperators, adding fresh oxygen to smog chocked cities. UPI 2M envisions these towers adding to the overall architectural presence of the city, with the visual identity of the towers acting as both “a symbol and result of their function.”