Ennesys, a Paris-based energy systems operation, teamed up with OriginOil, an American algae harvesting company, in an attempt to solve the country’s energy and environmental problems.
According to France’s thermal regulation policy RT2020, buildings will be required to process their own wastewater and generate more energy than they consume by 2020. The policy aims to reduce the country’s energy consumption by 20%, while moving away from fossil fuels and increasing the use of renewable energy 20% by the end of the decade.
This revolutionary system should help with both facets of the policy. The system is designed to mount flat-paneled algae harvesters, polycarbonate tubes that use light, wastewater, and CO2 to cultivate algae, on the outside of urban buildings. The algae in the harvesters will be nourished by the building’s wastewater filtering through the panels. The water itself can be re-used until the nitrates are depleted, at which point it can then be used for toilet-flushing water (graywater) in the building.
Once the algae have matured, in a matter of days, it can be harvested and processed into biomass. The resulting biomass, with roughly the same energy potential as coal, can be used to power the building without the environmental side effects. As an added benefit, the system effectively acts as insulation for the building, again reducing its energy consumption.
The video below further explains the process and project. If successful, the system presents a real step forward for the clean-energy cause.