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New Urban Algae Canopy Produces As Much Oxygen As Four Hectares Of Woodland

by: Jessica Beuker: An urban canopy created with algae has got people talking about the link between technology and environment.

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According to Gizmag, the bio-digital structure pumps a fluid with microalgae around a transparent shelter, which in turn produces shade, energy in the form of biomass, and an impressive amount of oxygen amounting to the equivalent of four hectares of woodland.

When it comes to photosynthesis, microalgae organisms are ten times more efficient than large trees and grass. Buildings and architectural surfaces are efficient spaces to utilize this technology.

The Biolamp Design, created by Hungarian designer Peter Horvath, is a sleek chamber that contains water and algae.

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The Urban Algae Canopy was presented as a prototype at this year’s Expo Milano. The project was presented by London-based ecoLogicStudio as part of the Future Food District project, curated by Carlo Ratti Associati. The Future Food District project is a 7,000 square metre thematic pavilion that explores the relationship between digital technology and our interactions with food.

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The Urban Algae Canopy was presented as a prototype at this year’s Expo Milano. The project was presented by London-based ecoLogicStudio as part of The Future Food District project.

The project, which is a culmination of six years worth of research, consists of three layers. A custom designed cladding system uses ETFC, fluorine-based plastic that has high corrosion resistance and consistent strength over a wide temperature range.

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The bio-digital structure pumps a fluid with microalgae around a transparent shelter, which in turn produces shade, energy in the form of biomass, and an impressive amount of oxygen. 

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According to Inhabitat, at any given time the transparency, colour and shading potential of the canopy will be the direct result of the interrelationships between climate, the algae and visitors. For example, when the sun shines intensively, the algae will photosynthesize and grow, which in turn will reduce the transparency of the canopy and provide shade.

For ecoLogicStudio the prototype is a step towards something much larger. There is hope for the use of these in current and future buildings, and a larger vision for a strengthened relationship between organic and high-tech systems. “Integrating organic and artificial systems opens up sustainable possibilities for everything from temperature control to power generation methods using advantages of both natural and digital parts,” writes WebUrbanist. For now, the canopy will remain a prototype and proof of a working concept that allows for experimentation.

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When the sun shines intensively, the algae will photosynthesize and grow, which in turn will reduce the transparency of the canopy and provide shade.

It seems algae are already being used in other environmentally-friendly projects as well. The Biolamp Design, created by Hungarian designer Peter Horvath, is a sleek chamber that contains water and algae. According to Gajitz, the algae eats the CO2 from the environment, which gets sucked into the chamber by a pump. Once the algae becomes saturated with CO2, it becomes biomass, which is then pushed underground to a filler station. So the lamp not only reduces urban smog, but could in turn use the biomass to power eco-friendly, biomass-fueled cars.

These new designs showcase the need to end the segregation between technology and nature, and instead explore the positive relationships between the two.

There is hope for the use of algae canopies in current and future buildings. It’s part of a larger vision for a strengthened relationship between organic and high-tech systems. 

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“Integrating organic and artificial systems opens up sustainable possibilities for everything from temperature control to power generation methods using advantages of both natural and digital parts.”

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Source: inhabitat.com

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