Bioreactor Façade

Renewable energy is receiving increased global attention as a potential sustainable. Algae bio-fuel is an alternative to fossil fuel that uses algae as its source of natural deposits. Many research study how to use this resource in industry as a sustainable energy and few months ago the first building covered with algae panels was unveiled in Germany.


The bio-reactor panels that are mounted on an existing building are like storage contain algae that continuously supplied with liquid nutrients and carbon dioxide via a separate water circuit running through the facade. With the aid of sunlight, the algae can photosynthesize and multiply in a regular cycle until they can be harvested. They are then batch separated and transferred as a thick pulp to the technical room. There they are fermented in an external bio-gas plant, so that they can be used again to generate bio-gas. The whole building is intended to be completely self-sufficient.


The algae panels are 8′ by 2′, with a total surface area of 2152 square feet at a yield of 15 g dry weight per square meter per day for the conversion of biomass into bio-gas, 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 bio-electricity! However the system seems to be prohibitive due to the high cost and time needed to assemble also the maintenance but this kind of projects will be more efficient in the future when the fossil fuel will be depleted.


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