EcoLogicStudio turns algae into air-purifying biopolymer "tree"

Algae-focused design follow EcoLogicStudio has turned its topic right into a biodegradable biopolymer, from which it has “grown” a 3D-printed, 10-metre-tall tree that carries out photosynthesis.

Titled Tree One, the huge, self-supporting tree sculpture was proven at two exhibitions offered by automobile model Hyundai at its studios in Korea – first Habitat One in Busan after which Habitat One: Sustainable Shelter in Seoul.

The tree incorporates two algae-based components – the trunk, which is 3D-printed from a biopolymer that EcoLogicStudio has formulated from the biomass created from harvested microalgae, and a lot of photobioreactors containing residing cyanidium microalgae cultures included into the trunk and base of the set up.

Tree One is a 10-metre-tall sculpture made from an algae-based biopolymer

The newest set up, in Seoul, included 40 of those glass photobioreactors, containing 500 litres of algae cultures which are actively finishing up photosynthesis, drawing carbon dioxide out of the air and releasing oxygen as they develop. EcoLogicStudio stated the set up had a photosynthetic potential equal to 1 mature tree.

Tree One grew out of EcoLogicStudio’s long-time curiosity within the air-purifying energy of algae, which co-founder Claudia Pasquero described as being vastly environment friendly.

“If you use a mechanical filter, you extract components from the air, however you continue to see the pollution someplace,” she informed Dezeen. “What occurs with microalgae is that they actually feed on them and by feeding, they develop and remetabolise, and by rising, they produce biomass.”

Birds-eye view photo looking down at the column of the Tree One sculpture, with photobioreactors spiralling out of the base
Algae in photobioreactors within the trunk and on the base of the tree perform photosynthesis

The biomass in query is extra of the microalgae itself, which is also called phytoplankton and is a single-celled organism. The microalgae rising in synthetic environments akin to EcoLogicStudio’s photobioreactors must be harvested each few weeks to make means for brand new development and take away naturally decayed cells.

With the harvested biomass, EcoLogicStudio has a number of choices: it will probably both reuse it in a brand new photobioreactor, or it will probably dry it out and switch it right into a product, akin to a fabric or perhaps a meals supply.

“With Tree One we began experimenting with bringing this again to structure by synthesising a biopolymer that’s fully biodegradable, might be 3D printed, and due to this fact regardless of being fairly smooth, acquires structural stability by way of its morphology,” stated Pasquero.

Photo of the canopy at the top of the Tree One sculpture, with thin branches growing out from the trunk
The biopolymer is made from the dried biomass harvested from photobioreactors

By making it into a fabric, EcoLogicStudio shops the carbon captured throughout the biomass till it’s returned to the earth to biodegrade, in an analogous option to timber.

“Tree One is the biggest construction we’ve got constructed with this concept to finish the general cycle of remetabolisation of air and retailer the carbon in a brand new architectural construction,” stated Pasquero.

EcoLogicStudio made the biopolymer by combining the biomass with 4 different biodegradable components – chitin (derived from mycelium, mushrooms or crustacean shells), agar (derived from potato peel or corn), vinegar and glycerin.

The designers used 4 industrial robots and 20 large-scale 3D-printing machines to extrude this materials into the Tree One construction, which has a pleated form that references the fibruous trunks of actual timber and which supplies it its power.

Photo of the outside of Hyundai's Seoul building with the Habitat One exhibition visible on the ground and first floors
Tree One was a part of the Habitat One: Sustainable Shelter exhibition at Hyundai’s Motor Studio in Seoul

The design was developed with the assistance of algorithms that mixed the logic of architectural columns and arboreal methods, mimicking the “organic intelligence” of the pure world to acquire most power from the pliable materials.

The designers began with a minimal path or minimal-network algorithm, which EcoLogicStudio co-founder Marco Poletto describes as simulating how fibres would develop from the bottom of a tree to the highest. One other algorithm turned the bundles of fibres into extra strong folds that might be extruded with one steady line.

“Tree One performs slightly bit with this archetype of structure, the column, which since antiquity was impressed by nature, by timber,” stated Poletto. “There are classical orders, and perhaps we’ve got added one now, of a type of bio-digital column.”

Still from EcoLogicStudio's AI-generated video showing possibilities for future climate-neutral architecture
EcoLogicStudio’s exhibition additionally included movies displaying AI-generated visualisations of a potential climate-neutral future metropolis

In keeping with Poletto, the algae-based biopolymer used to make Tree One is already appropriate to be used as cladding on interiors or exteriors, whereas experimentation on bigger, self-supporting constructions continues.

Exhibiting alongside the sculpture within the Habitat One: Sustainable Shelter exhibition have been two movies utilizing synthetic intelligence to check the structure of carbon-neutral cities, and an academic “Bio Lab” that broke down the method of creating Tree One.

“Imagining a carbon impartial metropolis implies the whole redefinition of all our manufacturing, development and waste recycling processes,” stated Pasquero. “It isn’t sufficient to think about upgrading a recent metropolis by way of software of recent inexperienced know-how, however we have to think about and visualise new photosynthetic processes that can decide its future development.”

EcoLogicStudio is predicated in London. Its current work has included an air-purifying kids’s playground and the Bit.Bio.Bot exhibition of edible algae on the Venice Structure Biennale.

Images is by Joonhwan Yoon.

Habitat One: Sustainable Shelter was on present in Seoul till 14 Might. See Dezeen Occasions Information for an up-to-date listing of structure and design occasions happening world wide.