3D Printed Photobioreactors
We are currently testing the use of large-scale and high resolution 3D printing as a viable fabrication process for the photo-bioreactor components.
3D printed facades will become common in a matter of 3 to 5 years and this technology could reduce costs and allow mass-customisation of parts. The prototype is demonstrating also the incredible potential of 3D printing in creating material structures receptive to life. In our prototype, this technology will enable and open a porous thick skin that can be optimised for specific environments and operating conditions so as to increase the system’s air pollution filtering performance.
ecoLogicStudio developed the first large scale prototype of this innovation in February 2019. Named H.O.R.T.U.S. XL Astaxanthin.g, the large scale, high-resolution 3D printed bio-sculpture was presented for the first time at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. The research project was developed in collaboration with the Synthetic Landscapes Lab at the University of Innsbruck.
Bio-plastics for circular
We are currently researching algae based bio-plastics.The long term ambition will be to produce photo-bioreactor modules made from the biomas that will grow within them, creating the possibility for circular material economy.
We are confident that algae based bio-polymers, among others, will become more widely adopted, as the industry is constantly improving their mechanical and chemical performance compared to currently available petrol-chemical ones.
We will develop photo-bioreactor modules that will achieve complete biodegradability and a closed material cycle where the algae we grow in the system will constitute up to 80% of the base material for their fabrication. This will help lock-in the carbon that is captured from the air and make the system overall carbon negative in its entire life-cycle (i.e. the over its entire life-cycle, including construction and decommissioning, the system will significantly reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere).
Engineered Urban Algae Strands
Engineered algae variants (species) are under development in collaboration with UCL’s biochemical engineering department. We will develop a portfolio of proprietary strands with optimised characteristics of resilience to urban conditions. Our priorities are resilience to thermal stress and capacity to adsorb and re-metabolise air pollutants.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be built into the system’s design and management protocol, creating an integrated bundle with the biological intelligence of the living cultures.
Currently the system is monitored in real-time, mapping micro-climatic variations and the health of algae cultures. Managers can remotely oversee this process and are warned when their intervention is required.
In the future, the system will include machine learning capabilities which will autonomously adjust and negotiate contrasting requirements. Users will be able to specify desired behaviours which will determine the fitness criteria for the algorithm: for instance, productivity, resilience, transparency maintenance, etc.