No city official can now say that there is not enough space for biomass growth in the urban environment. A team of inventors demonstrated an algal farm greening up a highway overpass in Switzerland. Made of transparent pipes, the system is designed to absorb carbon dioxide emissions from the traffic below.
During the annual Villes et Champs festival that took place in Geneva over the summer, a small Dutch-French company The Cloud Collective demonstrated an incredible solution to integrating greenery in a busy urban environment. The unconventional urban garden was placed in the famous Swiss city with the purpose to demonstrate that nature and city life can happily coexist.
The so-called Culture Urbaine Genève comprises of numerous transparent tubes, filled with algae, which take up the toxic emissions, and using the incoming light produce biomass (see a demo video here). The growing algae can then be converted into combustible biomass, air filtration system, or simply be used as any other algae in cosmetics and food.
But this incredible system serves a lot more than taking up carbon dioxide and producing algae biomass. Because the tubes are attached onto a siding made of concrete and supported by a strong steel structure, it forms a cycling or a walking path. In addition, it holds solar panels, filters and pumps.
The designers selected the busy highway as the most suitable location for their garden. There, they are able to best show that ‘if there is a will there is a way’. The design demonstrates that should not be a trade off between nature and development, in fact, both should come together.
Yes, it is still too early to predict whether this system can be installed on larger scale. But one thing is for certain. Such technology, when placed right in front of everyone’s eyes, can serve as a great example and an eyeopener, showing that greenness can be introduced even at the most unexpected places.
Image (c) The Cloud Collective