Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Summer 2016 - 24

CONSILIENCE called the SolarLeaf Bio-Reactor. Solar Leaf Bio-Reactor is both a building skin and energy producer. SolarLeaf's Bio-Reactors have four glass layers. The two inner panes have a 24-litre capacity cavity for circulating the growing medium. Either side of these panes, insulating argon-filled cavities help to minimise heat loss. The front glass panel consists of white antireflective glass, while the glass on the back can integrate decorative glass treatments. Compressed air is introduced to the bottom of each bioreactor at intervals. The gas emerges as large air bubbles and generates an upstream water flow and turbulence to stimulate the algae to take in CO2 and light. At the same time, a mixture of water, air and small plastic scrubbers washes the inner surfaces of the panels. The maximum temperature that can be extracted from the bioreactors is around 40 degrees celsius, as higher levels would affect the microalgae. The system can be operated all year round. The efficiency of the conversion of light to biomass is currently 10 per cent and light to heat is 38 per cent. For comparison, photovoltaic systems have an efficiency of 12-15 per cent and solar thermal systems 60-65 per cent. The project is the first of its kind, and the bio-responsive fa├žade was praised as a key achievement in building innovation. SolarLeaf brings building envelope and lighting management together with an algae based energy generation system. SolarLeaf has emerged as a demonstration of the potential of building-integrated algae-based technologies. While this is a very different value proposition to the traditional benefits delivered from living walls and green roofs, the Algae House demonstrates the possibility and potential. According to Adam Friedburg, of Arup Engineering, "algae has the potential for integration in many building applications, but it comes with a need for capacity building in terms of system maintenance, and market understanding. Unlike green roofs, which have been around for hundreds of years, these algae systems don't yet offer a clear economic payback. IN 20 YEARS I ANTICIPATE THAT ALGAE AND BIOFUEL PRODUCTION WILL BE A LEGITIMATE INGREDIENT IN FUELLING BUILDINGS AND POTENTIALLY PROVIDING ENERGY FOR EXTENDED SERVICES SUCH AS TRANSPORTATION AND ELECTRIFICATION. GEOFF WILSON, FOUNDING DIRECTOR OF AUSTRALIA-BASED QPONICS LIMITED As capacity grows and we see more applications explored, I can forsee a time when algae becomes an accepted integrated bioengineering solution." Still others are less convinced. "The notion of integrating algae into a building is brilliant, I'm just not certain of its practicality," said Craig Applegath, Principal at DIALOG, a large architecture and engineering firm, remarking on his visit to Hamburg's Algae House. While building integrated algae is still very much at the experimental stage the potential is significant. According to Mr. Wil- son "there are over 70,000 species of algae and humanity is only making use of about 12". Adam shares his optimistic outlook - "In 50 years I imagine that waste management will be entirely building integrated. In 20 years I anticipate that algae and biofuel production will be a legitimate ingredient in fuelling buildings and potentially providing energy for extended services such as transportation and electrification." The emerging opportunities represented by algae for food and energy production like those demonstrated with SolarLeaf and Qponics will become increasingly prevalent on the heels of the mainstream acceptance of living architecture and onsite waste treatment. Adam urges "It is incumbent on industry players to find a way to improve market capacity by sharing knowledge and experience more freely." The collaborative industry attitude proposed by Adam may help accelerate the integration of these world changing biotechnologies and unique forms of living architecture. Chris Chopik is a consultant and journalist. FIND OUT MORE algae-architecture.com arup.com/projects/solarleaf/details The panels can be purchased through Colt International. Panels are not plug and play and you need to design an energy concept for the project early in the process to maximize the system. Patented system - Manufacturer_ / Exporter Reliable Green Wall system, sustainable and watersaving soluuon. READ THIS ISSUE ONLINE AT LIVINGARCHITECTUREMONITOR.COM LIVING ARCHITECTURE MONITOR / SUMMER 2016 / 24 www.modulogreen.com contact@modulogreen.com http://www.algae-architecture.com http://www.arup.com/projects/solarleaf/details http://www.modulogreen.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Summer 2016

Table of Contents
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Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Summer 2016 - Table of Contents
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Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Summer 2016 - M1
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