We've seen incredible attempts to capture clean energy from wind, lasers, vegetables, and manure, however scientists are realizing one slimy power source remains enormously under-tapped -- Algae. Algae could produce nearly 80% of the world's oxygen while serving as a source for biofuel and filtering water. Claudia Pasquero and Marco Poletto, co-founders of EcoLogicStudio in London, have begun exploring the possibilities of this natural resource by planning an eco-city in Simrishamn, Sweden. Their Algae Farm plan will be an entire town centered on algae production, research, and hopefully tourism.
Simrishamn is a sleepy fishing town in a decaying region off the coast of the Baltic Sea. EcoLogicStudio’s master plan to redesign the area with algae farms, research labs and activity spaces aims to reinvigorate the town’s economy by involving local farmers, builders, and fishermen in the plans. With a number of interactive sites including a spa and a museum, the studio hopes to inject wealth and even tourism back to the coast.
EcoLogicStudio plans to incorporate the harvesting and use of algae in a number of areas around the town. “Crane Greenhouses” that resemble upside-down trees are planned for unused ports around the coast. Canopies of ETFE pedals will hold small bags that act as tiny greenhouses for algae production.
Algae will also be grown specifically for food and oil in “Migro Towers” near other lakes and bodies of water. The towers double as relaxing social areas for tourists on hikes and safe nesting areas for birds. Old barns around the region are imagined to become state of the art algae farming facilities while the natural springs will serve as water filtering gardens that will not only monitor water pollution but even offer spa treatments. Visitors can navigate through algae sites by a connected bike path that doubles as a cross-country ski course in the winter months.
Not only is the Algae Farm plan meant to boost the economy of Simrishamn, but it will also put the town on the map as a one of a kind research destination. A floating farm attached to the new Marine Science Museum will be an above an underwater interactive real-time research center for marine life and ecology.
A map of EcoLogicStudio’s design is currently on view at the Simrishamn Marine Center complete with a small, hands-on exhibition of some of the technology involved. An interactive hanging garden contains 7 of the most common algae species in the region and can be cultivated by visitors blowing Co2 into photo-bioreactor bags. LED lights sense the interaction and light up and record it for further research. The exhibition is an example of the participatory nature of Simrishamn’s new algae industry and how easy it is to get involved.