Welcome to the world of tech-enhanced biology. A breakthrough development in this virgin field has unified the conventional standards of digital cultivation and micro-algal cultures to produce oxygen, and a vital by-product, biomass, and more.
The structure, an urban algae canopy displayed at the Expo Milano can produce oxygen equivalent to that produced by 4 hectares of dense woodland. Since microalgae organisms normally are 10 times more effective in the process of photosynthesis than grass or large trees, they are super-efficient when it comes to producing oxygen. It also can produce 150 kilograms of biomass.
This technology is ideal for use in buildings and other artificial surfaces. It contains algae and water coursing through it. This living model was introduced by ecoLogicStudio which is included in the Future Food District project shepherded by Carlo Ratti Associati. This project studies how data can enhance our knowledge about what we eat.
This biodigital structure forces a fluid rich in microalgae through the transparent shelter, producing shade, biomass which gives us energy, and a massive volume of oxygen.
The forerunner of the structure has been designed to regulate the transfer of energy, water, and CO2, influenced by several variables including weather patterns, visitor movement, and other environmental factors. Sunlight falling on the structure acts as a catalyst that leads to a synergy between biology and technology. For instance, intense sunlight will induce photosynthesis which will cause the algae to grow. This will diminish the passage of sunlight through the structure and offer shade. The algae are transformed by the process of photosynthesis and grow throughout the prototype.
The project saw the light of the day after 6 years of research. The canopy consists of 3 layers designed by Taiyo Europe. A specialized covering system uses ETFE, which is a customized plastic. It is fluorine-based and is corrosion free and temperature proof.
This original device is a forerunner of something revolutionary when deployed on a massive scale. It can be used in any artificial structure. This integration of cutting-edge technology and organic materials will pave the way for a wide range of uses including power generation and temperature control. This prototype remains living proof of the immense possibility that has vast scope for improvement.
Images Credit: ecoLogic Studio