Microalgae are found in all bodies of water as rivers, lakes, seas, etc., also in the soil and various ecosystems on the planet, adapted to even extreme conditions. In addition to their importance to the biosphere, they are attractive to science and industry because their biomass is a rich source of energy. Being able to perform biochemical processes can serve as biotechnology and from there obtain substances and products of pharmaceutical interest, animal and human nutrition, wastewater treatment, fertilizers, electric energy production, biofuels, among others.
Algae Green is an initiative of research on technologies for the cultivation of microalgae in a homemade way, developing and experimenting with the prototyping of photobioreactors that can be used as a daily object and/or be part of the architecture in cities. Seeing the potential of microalgae is the study of these from citizen science and DIYbio (biology Do It Yourself) to find possible solutions from home biotechnology that can deal with environmental problems and energy resources is a near future. The aim is to create models that can be replicated or that their construction does not require complex processes, but rather that existing objects and technologies can be adopted for this purpose. It also aims to develop tools and protocols for both home cultivation and transformation into different sources of energy as well as for cleaning air and water, all without the need for vast infrastructure or huge industries.
Algas Verdes v3
Medialab-Prado. Madrid. 2016
The last version was developed during interactive? ’16: possible worlds at the Medialab-Prado, as part of the celebration of the 10 years of the interactive program? (where the project had its genesis in 2010). Algas Verdes Version 3 was assembled thinking of generating a «technologically updated» version of the first prototype and intended for the automation of the cultivation of inputs and outputs of the system as the visualization of variables of the medium.
This photobioreactor prototype is open source code and hardware with which you can visualize and control the conditions of cultivation of green algae in this case it is proposed to use the species «spirulina» and/or «chlorella». This model allows controlling the air flow (co2-o2), artificial lighting and biomass collection, as well as monitoring environmental conditions in real time such as pH of the medium, humidity and temperature. Being an open platform, this version can be replicated and intervened, so it is planned as a starting point and reference for those interested in experimenting in Alga Cultura homemade.
Algas Verdes V 2.1
Plataforma Bogotá. Tecnoparque Bogotá. 2011-2013
Throughout 2011-2012 the project explored the idea of symbiosis and daily life, looking for a model adaptable to different environmental and architectural conditions. With a multidisciplinary team we developed version 2 at Tecnoparque Bogotá, investigating the possibilities of building an adequate prototype using local, recycled, and economic materials. Consequently, we made a model with glass tubes (neon bulbs) that could be easily installed in walls and windows and used the surrounding air (CO2) as part of the growth and feeding cycle of the microalgae. We were able to cultivate Chlorella microalgae and keep them alive to the point of efficiently producing biomass. The final model coexisting for one year on the patio of Plataforma Bogotá. The photobioreactor was installed under normal climatic conditions and we were able to experiment with different species of microalgae collected in Bogotá water sources such as lakes and rivers. The biomass was used for the production of electrical energy using a microbial fuel cell, bioelectronic?
Algas Verdes v1.
Interactivos?’10. Medialab-Prado. Madrid
The objective was to build a photobioreactor model that was easy to develop and replicate in thei interactivos?’10: neighborhood science at Medialab-Prado. The photobioreactor allowed the growth of microalgae, mapped and collected in the surroundings of the Medialab and the city of Madrid. With gas sensors (oxygen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen), and by means of a microcontroller (arduino) and software (processing), an interface was created to visualize the concentration of these gases in a controlled atmosphere, allowing to monitor the production or reduction of these gases. Under this technological device, the behavior of algae could be observed in the face of variations in its environment, such as reactions to stimuli, adaptation over time and production / transformation of gases.
The following system inputs and outputs were considered:
Input 1: Human exhalation. The CO that serves as food for the algae is collected from our breath. Input 2: solar radiation, natural or artificial. Input 3 – output 1: Biomass, water. Population control depending on the density of biomass. Output 2: Oxygen (o2). Separated by a membrane selector.