Algae Wall, The Future of Green Building

Do you know that 40% of global energy consumption used for building? Air conditional, television, computer, and other electrical devices consume most of energy. Our daily life become depend on those devices. Dr. Donny Kurniawan and Nissa Aulia Ardiani, USAID SHERA’s researcher from Faculty of Architecture Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB), is developing algae based façade to reduce energy consumption for green building.  


The algae were introduced by Dr. Eko Agus Suyono, algae’s expert from Center for Development of Sustainable Region (CDSR ) Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) during their collaboration in SHERA. Then, this team explored the technology of algae’s medium (photobioreactor) to optimized algae’s photosynthesis. They are using algae chlorella. It designed vertically to cover a building. Algae will absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. Then, the oxygen will be stream inside the building. It will improve the air circulation indoor and reduce the need or air conditioner. Logically, energy consumption reduces as well. Carbon dioxide absorption by algae also reduce pollution in the surrounding.  


This study also involved Prof. Moncef Krarti from University of Colorado Boulder (UCB). In April 2019, Prof. Krarti provided computation and simulation assistance for Dr. Kurniawan & Ardiani. This is including energy calculation and design simulation of green energy. Prof. Krarti also share the access for complex weather data. “It was very hard to collect hourly weather data in detailed, especially in Indonesia. Finally, we got the accessed from UCB,” said Ardiani.

This team got the opportunity to utilize advance research lab during their collaboration with UCB. 



The Challenges of Algae Wall


Despite the sustainable benefits from algae wall, this team still working on the best design for the implementation. Attached algae wall will increase the building load. Algae also need water and nutrition. They are working in a strong, light, and leakproof design. “Currently, we are experimenting the best solution to overcome this challenge,” explained Ardiani. Moreover, algae treatment also essential to optimize the oxygen and carbon dioxide distribution into the building. 


Why Green Building?


Green building has a great benefit for the environment, including reducing pollutant. We can breathe healthier and not necessary use the air conditioner. Algae also filtered solar radiation. After a week, we can harvest the algae and process it for biomass.  Similar building named BIQ House, built in Germany. Dr. Donny and Ardiani also planning to implement this study into a building in ITB Innovation Park, Bandung. This research also awarded by Ministry of Research, Technology, and Higher Education (Kemristekdikti)

Categories: Environtment, Energy & Maritime Science