Algae powered buildings produce renewable energy while sucking atmospheric CO2

algae as a power source

 Buildings are Powered using Algae with this Innovative System

Technological innovations across all sectors are happening at a much faster pace. Most of these innovations are the new applications of existing technologies. 

In the renewable energy sector, many innovations have the potential to create a large impact provided they can be converted into a viable business.

One such innovation that is quite sustainable and scalable is using living algae to produce renewable energy and power urban buildings.

The world’s first bio-reactive facade, where microalgae were cultivated in glass panels to produce renewable energy, was revealed on a residential building in Hamburg, Germany back in 2013. The technology has improved quite a lot after that.

The facade system is now an integral part of the building that automatically supplies warm water and heat to the buildings.

Credit: Mashable

How the Technology Works?

BIQ is a residential building with 1700 sq meters of living area with a total of 15 flats. The building is covered with 200 sq meter of bioenergy facade.

Image Credit: Mashable

The facade acts like an isolation window consisting of glass layers. In between the glass layers, water is filled inside which the algae grow using the sunlight coming from outside that hits the facade.


Thus it acts like a solar system that stores energy in the form of solar thermal heat. The algae absorb sunlight and carbon dioxide and produce heat and biomass.

These bioenergy facades are not an attachment to the walls but form an integral part of them and are integrated with the windows. 

Credit: Mashable

The sophisticated logic control helps in supplying the generated heat and warm water to the buildings automatically thus enhancing its commercial viability. 

Automated Logic Control System to supply heat & warm water; Credit: Mashable

The Result

Bioenergy facade produces about one-third of the total heat demand for the BIQ house in Hamburg.

The Capabilities of the Technology

Microalgae is a product that already has commercial viability and is being used in health foods, cosmetics, fish food, etc. 

Credit: Mashable

Bioenergy facades can make the urban areas productive by helping the buildings generate their own energy for meeting the heat and warm water requirements along with the biomass. In many buildings, a considerable portion is not used for anything and buildings can be made productive by deploying such a system in those unused areas.

To Wrap Up

Such innovation has the true potential to take the green building concept to the next level. Though the concept is proven technologically, it’s time for the entrepreneurs & startups to test its viability as a business idea and develop scalable business models.

Also ReadSolar Panels that produce electricity without sunlight

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