Algae Engineering

At a first glance, these green organisms might seem very boring and simple.  Yet, it attracts the attention of researchers and engineers all over the world:  algae!

Buildings powered with solar and wind energy are nothing new.  But an algae powered house?!  In Hamburg, Germany, such a house became reality.


The whole building is covered with a bio-adaptive façade of microalgae.  Dr. Kerner is the engineer behind the project.


With the help of the algae which are cultivated in the bioreactors on the façade, energy is produced in a biogas plant.

Prof. Hanelt by the university in Hamburg is researching on algae and has a collection of algae unique in the world. He also supplies the algae powered house.


There are very different kind of species of algae.  Some can be really tiny with a size smaller than a human hair.  Others can grow more 60 meters high.


From Hamburg to Eastern Germany:  Here, engineers search for the ideal algae strain to grow in commercial quantities.  Their vision: One day, algae may be competitive with Big Oil and supply even aircrafts with green fuel.


There are more than 500.000 species of algae, but only around 10 of them are researched and industrially used. Engineer Fritz Cotta and his team want to change this!  They developed special reactors that look like fir trees. With this method, they can produce 130 kg biomass in 200 days.


Thanks to the efforts of scientists and engineers, we might soon be able to travel with algae powered aircrafts.



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