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The Algae Building....

One of my traits as a correspondent for Renewable Energy Magazine is always to look for stories that are particularly unusual or inspirational. Most of the time it turns out to be a new innovation in energy storage or a new wave and tidal device or something of that ilk, but the prize for this week has to go to the new Algae Biomass building in Hamburg, Germany (

IBA Hamburg have been working on this project in cooperation with Arup Deutschland GmbH, Bollinger und Grohmann, Immosolar, Otto Wulff Bauunternehmung and SSC Strategic Science Consult. The building looks amazing. More to the point, it is the first building of its kind in the world as far as I know, and therefore is truly innovative. 

The building actually forms part of the International Building Exhibition 2013 and was launched officially on 24th April. The way it works is this: Two facades on the south-western and south-eastern sides of the (residential) building are covered in glass panels attached to the exterior. These glass facades contain water within which there is a mass of green microalgae. In essence the microalgae operates as a form of 'bioreactor'. They flow through the glass elements generating biomass and heat and giving the building a particularly interesting aesthetic look made even more interesting by the fact that the algae is changing colour all the time. The sun's radiation generates thermal energy which the algae uses to create biomass through photosynthesis. The heat is provided to the building while the biomass is exported elsewhere for other uses.

In a word, amazing. Well done Germany (again)!  


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