Gallery: Bubble Shaped Skyscraper is a Fresh Water Factory


Design Crew for Architecture have created an incredible water purifying skyscraper that looks like dozens of soapy bubbles stacked one on top of another. According to the design brief, “There is only about 1% left of liquid freshwater and the UNO and the World Water Council estimates there might be a crisis affecting half the worldwide population by 2030.” Capable of making freshwater efficiently and sustainably using a series of bubbles filled with water-filtering mangroves, the unconventional building pushes the envelope of what a skyscraper is capable of doing.

Unlike a traditional skyscraper, the freshwater factory is proposed not for the city but for the Almeria province of Spain for its sunny weather and favorable growing conditions. A special mention in the 2010 eVolo Skyscraper competition, the bulbous building would house a freshwater factory filled with mangroves that would convert saltwater into drinking water which could then be used to grow food crops.

In order to facilitate water purification, the tower will be made up of several circular tanks filled with brackish water (water that has more salinity than fresh water, but not as much as seawater), which will be enclosed in spherical greenhouses. Using tidal powered pumps, the brackish water will be brought up into the tower and circulate through the mangrove plants, which have the unique ability to thrive on brackish water and perspire freshwater. The freshwater sweat then evaporates and condensates into dew on wall of the greenhouse and is collected in a freshwater tank. The resulting freshwater can then be distributed to the fields using gravitational flow.

According the designers, one hectare of mangroves should be able to produce 30,000 liters of freshwater a day. In other words, the tower would be able to irrigate a one-hectare field of tomatoes per day.

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1 Comment

  1. natemonkey March 15, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    that’s really inefficient… it would be impossible to build enough of these things to solve the water crisis. the *only* solution is 4th generation nuclear power plants, particularly thorium variants that run at high temperature. modern nuclear plants, such as the ones that india is designing, can produce electricity, desalinate water, and produce clean hydrogen fuels all on the same site. for comparison, a typical nuclear powered navy ship (a small reactor on a BOAT) produces 400,000 gallons per day. yes, a BOAT produces 1,514,164 liters per day… a boat produces 50 times as much as a “green” skyscraper! also keep in mind that only a fraction of the energy of the reactor goes into desalination, the rest goes to other stuff like propulsion. the same arrangement for power plants, except power is produced in much larger quantities. the energy density of nuclear power allows us to run multiple types of plants from the same reaction… that’s why we get power generation, desalination, and clean fuel production from the same site… it’s impossible to do this with green energy.

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