A weird but true proposal for making bio-fuel
by Tim Ghianni
Picture a high-rise covered in algae, with robotic arms pulling out sections of the building and moving them in a constant shape-shifting ritual. This is not a scene from a science fiction movie. Well, it’s not exactly real life either. But it could be.
Two Boston design firms want to convert a partially completed downtown building project into a stack of “pre-fabricated eco-pods” that would incubate and test bio-fuel algae. According to the plans of Howeler+Yoon Architecture and Squared Design Lab, some of the bio-fuel produced would power the robotic arms and be used to help the construction.
“Micro-algae is one of the most promising bio-fuel crops of today, yielding over 30 times more energy per acre than any other fuel crop,” according to the architectural firm’s web page description of the project. “Unlike other crops, algae can be grown vertically and on non-arable land, is biodegradable and may be the only viable method by which we can produce enough automotive fuel to replace the world’s current diesel usage.”
Additionally, the algae helps the environment by replacing carbon dioxide with oxygen. Howeler+Yoon’s site calls this “anticipatory architecture, capable of generating a new micro-urbanism that is local, agile and carbon net positive” that can literally “grow the economy.”