A construction industry world first is set to be finished in coming days in Germany. Located in Hamburg, the BIQ building sets a new standard by incorporating algae into its exterior. This acts as a biofuel-producing platform, helping make the BIQ apartment 100 per cent emissions-free.
The BIQ project is the result of work carried out by several organisations including Colt International, ARUP, Strategic Science Consult and Splitterwerk Architects.
Here’s how the system works. The algae is encased in bio-reactive louvres. These louvres supply shade in the usual way but, in this instance, they also act as a catalyst, speeding up the algae growth process. Increasing levels of solar energy further accelerate the algae growth and the in-built bioreactors then trap this energy, which is used as a power source throughout the apartment.
Algae Building Facades
By absorbing CO2 and releasing oxygen in the presence of pollution, algae building facades are seen as a readily-adaptable way of greening-up the construction industry. The imminent completion of the BIQ building is an eagerly-awaited moment. Its performance will be closely assessed and, if all goes well, the same model could be adopted on a much wider scale.
“It’s been a very rewarding scheme to be involved in”, Colt’s director, Simon O’Hea, stated in comments quoted by Construction Manager. “We have put a lot of work into meeting the technical challenges and we now have a commercial-scale, effective solution that uses live algae as a smart material to deliver renewable energy. You can’t get greener than that.”
According to its developers, this algae-powered building represents a novel way of integrating green technologies into the construction industry. Work on it began in December 2011 and, to date, it’s cost in the region of 3.4 million Euros to develop. It covers an area of 839 square metres and contains units ranging from 50 to 120 square metres in size.
A key part of the upcoming IBA Hamburg event, it’s hoped the BIQ apartment will serve to influence future building design.