Gallery: The World’s First Algae-Powered Building Opens in Hamburg


The world’s first algae-powered building just opened in Hamburg! Dubbed the BIQ House, the project features a bio-adaptive algae facade and it will serve as a testing bed for sustainable energy production in urban areas and self-sufficient living buildings. International design firm Arup worked with Germany’s SSC Strategic Science Consultants and Austria-based Splitterwerk Architects to develop the BIQ House, which launched as part of Hamburg’s International Building Exhibition.

Arup predicts that buildings will fundamentally transform over the next fifty years due to developments ranging from jet-powered maintenance robots to high-rise farms and photovoltaic paint, all of which are already in development. But first and foremost, Arup envisions a movement towards living buildings that respond and adapt to the conditions around them. “The urban building of the future fosters this innate quality, essentially functioning as a living organism in its own right – reacting to the local environment and engaging with the users within,” contends Arup. The BIQ House is the first major step towards that vision.

According to Arup, the facade of the BIQ House is designed so that algae in the bio-reactor facades grows faster in bright sunlight to provide more internal shading. The ‘bio-reactors’ not only produce biomass that can subsequently be harvested, but they also capture solar thermal heat – and both energy sources can be used to power the building. This means that photosynthesis is driving a dynamic response to the amount of solar shading required, while the micro-algae growing in the glass louvres provide a clean source of renewable energy. The integrated algae-based system will be put into full operational mode at an inauguration event later this month.

+ Arup

Via Daily Mail


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  1. Željko Serdar April 15, 2013 at 2:18 am

    ”Given the right conditions, algae can double its volume overnight. Microalgae are the earth’s most productive plants –– 10 to 15 times more prolific in biomass than the fastest growing land plant exploited for biofuel production. While soy produces some 50 gallons of oil per acre per year; canola, 150 gallons; and palm, 650 gallons, algae can produce up to 15,000 gallons per acre per year. In addition, up to 50 percent (or more) of algae biomass (dry weight) is comprised of oil, whereas oil-palm trees—currently the most efficient large-scale source of feedstock oil to make biofuels—yield approximately 20 percent of their weight in oil,” says Zeljko Serdar, President of CCRES

  2. KSPRAYDAD April 14, 2013 at 8:53 am

    From the BIQ website: BIQ has 200 square algae facade. At a yield of 15 g dry weight per square meter per day for the conversion of biomass into biogas, a net energy gain of approximately 4,500 kWh per year can be achieved. In comparison, a family of four consumes about 4,000 kWh per year. The algae facade could thus supply the entire household of the family with bioelectricity!

    Piss poor

  3. bojamajams April 10, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    So what % of the building’s power do they get out of this? Like 5%? LOL

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