Bio-digital urban curtain captures CO2 from the air

London-based architectural and urban design design firm ecoLogicStudio, in collaboration with European climate innovation initiative Climate-KIC, designed Photo.Synth.Etica, a bio-digital urban curtain containing algae that captures and stores carbon dioxide.

The curtain consists of sixteen 2 x 7 metres (6.6 x 23 feet) modules and enveloped the first and second floor of the Printworks building in Dublin, Ireland. Functioning as a photobioreactor, each module is digitally designed and custom made from bioplastic. It uses sunlight to feed the living micro-algal cultures inside. At night, the algae are luminescent.

Unfiltered urban air enters the installation at the bottom and air bubbles rise naturally through the water tedium within the bioplastic photobioreactors. There, the bubbles come into contact with veracious microbes that capture CO2 molecules and air pollutants. The algae, subsequently, store these pollutants, growing into biomass. The biomass can in turn be harvested and employed in the production of bioplastic, the same as the main building material as the photobioreactors.

From the top, finally, freshly photosynthesised oxygen is released at the top of each façade unit of Photo.Synth.Ethica, into the urban climate. In total, the system captures approximately 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of CO2 per day, the equivalent of 20 large trees.

Thanks to the serpentine design, the modules optimise the carbon sequencing process. The curtain pattern looks like a large trading data chard that embodies Climate-KIC’s commitment to promote new modules to solve the global climate crisis.

The shading system could be integrated into existing and newly designed buildings.

Photo.Synth.Ethica was revealed in Dublin during the week of the Climate Innovation Summit 2018. The project takes its name from the Photosynthetica consortium directed by ecoLogicStudio in partnership with Urban Morphogenesis Lab – UCL and Synthetic Landscapes Lab – University of Innsbruck.

Photos: NAARO