A French and Dutch design firm, Cloud Collective, has come up with an elegantly simple way to clean up our urban environment using an algae farm suspended on a highway overpass in Geneve. The idea is quite simple: place a bioreactor which utilizes carbon emissions as fuel over the source.
Algae are diverse organisms, and like plants, they generate energy via photosynthesis using carbon dioxide and sunlight, with molecular oxygen as the byproduct. What is even more interesting is that as the algae increase their biomass it is possible to harvest and convert them into a number of usable products, such as biofuels and cosmetics.
The bioreactor itself is simple, consisting of a closed system of transparent, algae-filled tubes with a series of pumps, filters, and solar panels that regulate the system.
At the moment this bioreactor is just a small scale ‘proof of concept’ system built as part of a festival in Geneve. The point of such an installation was to show how easy it would be to produce similar large scale bioreactors. More importantly, this project instills the concept of algal bioreactors into the general publics’ consciousness and helps us visualize how realistic a larger scale version of such bioreactors could be.