The entire frontage of a four-story, corner building in Hamburg,
Germany, has been turned into a living power plant and is now called the
Bio Intelligence Quotient (BIQ) house. Thanks to a $6.5 million
investment, since April 2013, 129 glass bioreactors have been producing
energy and bubbly visual effects. The concept was devised by a local
inventor and then further developed by a team of specialists at Arup, a
British engineering firm, including Jan Wurm, an architect specialized
in glass structures.
BIQ's complex circulatory system utilizes compressed air to keep the
algae alive and circulate heat through pipes embedded in room floors;
preheats water stored in 260 ft deep boreholes; and ultimately turn the
wheels of a power generator. Once a week or so the algae are filtered
and trucked to be processed into methane and hydrogen.
comment: given the energy intensive materials, only a complete
life-cycle analysis would confirm any claims of carbon neutrality,
but the BIQ house is certainly an impressive initial exploration
of a promising frontier.
Text based on an article by David Ferris, Sierra Club Magazine
New York Times article: