Algae Facade

The Bio Intelligent Quotient (B.I.Q.) or Smart Material House for the International Building Exhibition in Hamburg, Germany is truly the vertical implementation of floating algae ponds as harvested for biofuel (as seen in the research by Jonathan Trent for NASA). The five story building houses 129 bioreactors: 2.60 m (8.53’) high x 60cm (1.97’) wide with four panes of glass. The panes subdivide the panels into a main cavity 18mm (0.71”) wide and two flanking insulating cavities 16mm (0.63”) wide each.1 Similar to Jonathan Trent’s photobioreactors for the algae ponds, the B.I.Q. house uses photobioreactors that are titled vertically as opposed to floating horizontally, and are made of glass rather than plastic. Also akin to Jonathan Trent’s floating ponds is the concept of recirculating CO2 through air bubbles to keep feeding the algae. In the B.I.Q. House, Flat Panel Uplift Bioreactors inject pressurized air into the cavity through the bottom.1 “This kind of photobioreactor has a photosynthesis production rate that is approximately ten times higher than tubular glass reactors which had been used up till this point.”1 In the case of the floating ponds, the photobioreactors released the heat (a byproduct of photosynthesis) through the surrounding water—in the B.I.Q. house, a heat exchanger absorbs this heat, allowing the thermal energy to heat the home simultaneously for hot water or later through the geothermal system.2

1. Wurm, Jan. “Photobioreactors as Adaptive Shading Devices.” Smartgeometry. Web. 3 March 2012. Accessed 26 Aug. 2010.
2. Wallis, David. “When Algae on the Exterior is a Good Thing.” The New York Times. Web. 24 April 2013. Accessed 26 Aug. 2013.
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3. Trent, Jonathan.“Energy From Floating Algae Ponds.” TED: Ideas Worth Spreading. Accessed Web. 26 Aug. 2013.
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