Hamburg is now home to the first algae-powered building in the world. The BIQ House, as it is called, has a façade made of algae which react to differing environmental conditions to serve as a case study for renewable energy generation in urban areas while also providing “living” buildings that generate the power needed by the building.
The building was designed by international firm Arup, with support from SSC Strategic Science Consultants from Germany and Splitterwerk Architects from Austria. The BIQ House was finally open during the International Building Exhibition in Hamburg.
According to Arup, with the current development of the likes of photovoltaic paint, high-rise farms and jet-powered robots, the buildings to be put up 50 years from now will be a lot different from what they are now. However, Arup maintains that there will soon be a shift towards living buildings which react and adjust to conditions on their own and interact with occupants. The BIQ House represents a milestone in their achieving this aim.
The design of BIQ House’s façade is such that the algae in bio-reactors grow at faster rates during bright sunlight so as to provide shade for occupants. These same bio-reactors generate biomass and absorb solar energy which can both be used to cater for the energy needs of the building.
Thus, shade for the building’s occupants is provided through the photosynthetic activity of the algae while their biomass provides a sustainable form of energy for the building. This integrated algae system will become fully operational when the technology is officially unveiled later in the month.