A modern apartment block was unveiled at the international building exhibition in Hamburg , Germany . This 15 unit apartment block - Bio Intelligent Quotient ( BIQ ) house was the first building in the world that generates heat and electricity from algae on exterior walls.
It features 129 rectangular glass chamber containing water and algae hanging over the exterior of the south - east and south - west side of the building . Cultivating algae panel also provides thermal insulation and shading from direct sunlight .
Designed by Arup , SSC Strategic Science Consultant and Splitterwerk architects , the algae - full of clear chamber can be adjusted to follow the movement of the sun similar to the technology used for solar collectors . The excess heat built up algae chamber is either directly used for hot water and heating or transferred to salt water tank under the building for use later.
Algae is well suited to produce biogas and contains many oils that can be used for energy . Algae reproduce when presented with abundant bright sunlight. To thrive and grow faster, the algae within the chamber is supplied with liquid nutrients and carbon dioxide by an automated system .
When the amount of algae growth on the glass panel reached a certain point , some of them moved as a thick pulp for fermentation at a processing facility in the building . Biomass is then converted into biogas that can be burned to provide warmth in winters .
The BIQ house was attended by various architects and engineers from around the world to determine the feasibility and design of the prototype model to other cities .