World's first algae-powered building switches on

Credit: wikimedia

Algae — that squishy, filmy substance you'd rather not have seeping through your boots — just might be running your home in the near future. While algae has already been put to use creating bio-diesel, the newly opened BIQ House is the first building to be powered by the stuff.

The BIQ House is a collaborative installation, created by design firms Splitterwerk, Arup and SSC. An entry in Hamburg's International building exhibition, the BIQ House is a highly adaptive, self-sufficient building that will function as a prototype for future algae construction projects. That high adaptability comes from the way algae grows in nature. When supplied with enough water and CO2, algae growth is highly dependent on the amount of sun it gets — the more sun, the more algae.

When implemented as a "bio skin" upon the facade of a building, the algal growth speeds up during the warmer months. This provides a cooling effect for those that reside within, while simultaneously transferring the heat from the sun to hot water systems and other places where warmth is needed. But, heat and cooling aren't the sum of the algae's energy production. When the algae have grown to fill its enclosure, it is harvested and sent to the BIQ House's technical room. There, the algae is fed into a biomass fuel converter which meets the rest of the building's energy needs.

To see how the BIQ House went from concept to reality, take a look at the gallery below.

IBA Hamburg, via Inhabitat

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