Algae cladding system captures CO2 from the air

Photo.Synth.Etica has developed an algae-powered building cladding system that captures and stores carbon dioxide molecules and air pollutants. In another project, it extends the benefits of algae to keeping buildings cool.

Photo.Synth.Etica, a collaborative group founded by ecoLogicStudio in partnership with Urban Morphogensis Lab at University College London and Synthetic Landscapes Lab at the University of Innsbruck, unveiled its Algae Curtain in Dublin during the Climate Innovation Summit 2018 late last year.

The curtain is composed of 16.2 x 7 metre modules, each made of bioplastic featuring algaefilled channels. Unfiltered urban air is introduced at the bottom of the facade, and the air bubbles naturally rise through the algae channels. Carbon dioxide molecules and air pollutants are captured and stored by the algae and can be harvested to produce reusable biomass, such as the bioplastic used as the main building material for the modules. The photosynthesized oxygen is then released at the top of each module into the urban microclimate.

According to Photo.Synth.Etica, the Urban Curtain can be integrated into both existing and new buildings. The project was supported by Climate-KIC, the EU’s prestigious climate innovation initiative.

In a separate project called AlgaeClad, Photo.Synth.Etica integrates algae directly into ETFE building cladding. This creates adapting shading, which reduces a building’s cooling loads while at the same time allows it to grow biomass for bio-fuel, biological fertilizer or even food supplements.

According to the project website, AlgaeClad requires far less structural support and its carbon footprint could be 80 times lower than an equivalent system in glass, making it particularly suitable for retrofitting projects.

Image credit: Vadim Gromov via Unsplash

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