A Study on the utilization of microalgaefor producing light and biofuel in the built environment

Sünger, Yağmur
Microalgae utilization in the built environment can be a key way to develop sustainable urban environments. Microalgae have many potentials such as providing the raw material for biofuels, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to indoor air quality, treating wastewater, and illuminating spaces. Therefore, all these features offer the opportunity of symbiosis between the microalgae and the built environment. Although there are many studies on microalgae, more research is needed at the intersection of architecture and biotechnology to integrate them into the built environment. In this study, it is aimed to contribute to this new research topic by proposing integration designs to show the possibilities to produce biofuel and bioluminescent light from algae within a symbiosis between the microalgae and the built environment. In this context, a comprehensive literature review was conducted on microalgae and their characteristics, cultivation and harvesting methods, integration systems, processes to obtain bioenergy and bioluminescence. Microalgae utilized case studies in the built environment were reviewed. After having a fundamental knowledge, six microalgae species were defined for target use in the study: biodiesel and light production. Characteristics of selected species and requirements to cultivate them in buildings were presented and using this information, a conceptual study was prepared on Konya Provincial Directorate of National Education Building’s architectural project for microalgae integration. In the project, two different integrations were proposed: Utilization of microalgae on the building façade and inside the building. The proposal was based on the contribution that microalgae and the building could provide to each other. One of the conclusions of this study is the importance of architectural design process for integration studies. Microalgae become one of the building users as a result of integration, and like other living things, they can survive under certain conditions. In order to build a symbiotic relationship, the characteristics of the algae to be cultivated in the building should be well known and optimum conditions should be provided for them. Successful designs can create symbiosis and buildings can be productive components of sustainability.


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Citation Formats
Y. Sünger, “A Study on the utilization of microalgaefor producing light and biofuel in the built environment,” Thesis (M.S.) -- Graduate School of Natural and Applied Sciences. Building Science in Architecture., Middle East Technical University, 2019.