Every living organism on Earth represents a perfectly functioning system, well adapted to the environment as a result of millions of years of evolution. The structure of these organisms can be developed into new dimensions in architecture and city planning.
The proposed scheme is located on the Santa Monica beach, Los Angeles. Los Angeles was the first city, which mentioned sustainability in the 1970s. However, over the last 30 years Los Angeles has suffered from high levels of air pollution, and is considered one of the most polluted cities in the US. Santa Monica beach is in a worse situation with water pollution levels hitting a near-record high in Los Angeles County. Thousands of vehicles emit huge amounts of carbon dioxide. Therefore, the conditions of the site and temperature create the best environment for algae growth and soothing the pollution issues in the area.
Algae are photosynthetic organisms; they vary from small single-celled forms to complex multi-cellular forms. They are regarded negatively by people and can be described as a dirty, nasty and smelly. Nevertheless, this small organism does play significant roles in air and water pollution.
The algae farm:
The algae farm is a self-sufficient building. The form is inspired by the algae nano-structure systems and the program of the farm consists of a café, laboratory, gallery, staff rooms, sauna rooms and a bath area. Three entrances haven been designed to meet the circulation requirements.
This design allows people to become more aware and understand the environmental issues concerned and addresses the importance of how people need to change in order to maintain a sustainable environment. My designs show an algae world for visitors who can observe the process of algae oil production. Human waste can also be utilized as the ‘nutrient’ of the algae. The by-products of algae (such as algae powder, clean water) are going to be used in the cosmetic bath, and will be pumped to taps around the building supplying drinking water for visitors. The algae fuel would be sold or be used in the farm.
In my proposed design, the façade has two functions. Firstly, it provides the space for algae bloom and secondly, it creates an unpredictable ever-changing colour façade. The colours range from pale green to bright green; from bright green to brown; from brown to pink and white.
In order to increase the speed of the photosynthesis, the bioreactor is reduced in size. Smaller plastic tubes operate and inter-connect together; the bioreactor tubes cover the south and west façade. Each plastic tube connects to an international joint. By using the suns path data in Los Angeles, a central computer system is able to control the movement of the plastic tubes.
To produce fuel from CO2, algae and other photosynthetic organism liquid will be pumped into a plastic photo-bioreactor and exposed to sunlight. The mass of algae can double or triple in size within 24 hours. During photosynthesis, carbon dioxide will be captured and converted into oxygen and biomass. Up to 99% of the carbon dioxide can be converted. The algal oil can then be converted into bio-diesel through a routine process called transesterification, in which it is processed using ethanol and a catalyst. Enzymes are then used to convert starches from the remaining bio-mass into sugars, which are fermented by yeasts to produce ethanol
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