I think most of us would agree that algae is disgusting stuff, being green, slimy and mushy, making you slip and fall at times when you are not careful. Does it have a role to play in our lives? Certainly, which was why Sir Alexander Fleming did not throw away that petri dish of his that contained some algae growing, resulting in him discovering penicillin. This time around, mankind has another benefit from algae, which has been used to create bio-diesel that will power the recently opened BIQ House, making it the first building to be powered by algae.
The BIQ House is an installation that was created by design firms Splitterwerk, Arup and SSC, where it has also been entered into Hamburg’s International building exhibition. Described as a highly adaptive, self-sufficient building, it is capable of functioning as a prototype for future algae construction projects. When you supply the BIQ House with adequate levels of water, CO2, and sunlight, this is where it all ties in together nicely. The algae will be used as a “bio skin” of sorts upon the facade of a building, where growth is at its peak during the warmer months, resulting in a cooling effect for its occupants while transferring heat from the sun to hot water systems. Once the algae has maximized its room for growth, it will be harvested and sent to the BIQ House’s technical room, where it is then fed into a biomass fuel converter to help provide for the other energy requirements of the building. You certainly cannot get any more green than that!