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A material made of microalgae grown in wastewater

Material designer Laura Bordini’s project ‘Nice to seed you’ developed a material made of the biomass of microalgae, grown in domestic wastewater.

The aim of this project is to outline a circular process in which waste generated by one process serves as nourishment for another. In this case, Bordini used microalgae biomass that comes from a purification process of domestic wastewater from a German waste disposal centre. The microalgae incorporate the nutrient in the wastewater, such as ammonia, nitrogen and phosphorous.

The material combines microalgae with wood powder, which makes the material more durable, and other biobased ingredients like gelatine and glycerine. Plant seeds can also be added, so the material can be planted after use. The ingredients are mixed, poured into a mould and left to dry at room temperature for a few days. The production process can be easily replicated at home without special requirement.

The material can be used to make plantable post cards and packaging material.

Photos: Laura Bordini