Algae is well-known as an edible sushi wrap. But as a source of energy? In late March Hamburg’s Minister for Environment and Urban Development, Jutta Blankau, laid the foundation stone for the world’s most unique residential building –the “BIQ” – on the International Building Exhibition (IBA) site in Wilhelmsburg. Its façade is entirely covered in gleaming green algae which produces biomass and heat through photosynthesis and solar energy. The IBA has gained Otto Wulff Bauunternehmung GmbH and Strategic Science Consult (SSC) GmbH, a member of the Renewable Energy Hamburg, as its investors.
“Here in Wilhelmsburg, Hamburg is presenting the world with sustainable living concepts not just for tomorrow but for the future!” said Jutta Blankau. The managing director of SSC GmbH, Dr Martin Kerner, emphasized: “The ‘BIQ’ bioreactor façade implements this innovative technology for the first time. It was developed through the interdisciplinary research project ‘TERM’ (technology for the development of microalgae as a resource).” The Graz architecture firm “Splitterwerk” designed the cubic, five-storey, zero-energy building.
“BIQ” is characterised by flexibility, both externally and internally. Since its biomass is constantly moving due to its continuous growth, the building’s façade continually changes colour. A modern fuel cell heater supplied by E.ON Hanse AG generates CO2 serving as a source of food for the algae. The interior of the building is also attractive due to its open design. This futuristic home is one of the “Smart Material Houses” through which the IBA is presenting new construction materials.