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Case Studies on the Architectural Integration of Photobioreactors in Building Façades


The research presented addresses the production of biomass in architectural facade, making these facades photobioreactors, PBRs, of micro algae cultivation. These aquatic microorganisms and simple structures grow from the process of photosynthesis and absorption of CO2. The integration of what up to now was an industrial system in the architectural envelope opens new and interesting alternatives to renewable energies. We present different cases of PBRs on façades, with both new construction and renovation or energy-efficient rehabilitation. In all the examples, currently under development, it has sought a central objective economic feasibility and energy productivity. The designs range from simple and easily standard proposals done with existing materials in the market and economic assembly, to unique designs, with manufacturing singled out, which bring high representative value. The entire catalog of architectural design solutions is accompanied by industrial systems similar to those described for operation as PBR. In the study costs of façades transformed into PBRs are compared to standard façades achieving highly competitive values at a certain scale factor. Other factor developed is the increase of thermal regulation in the interior of a building because of the isolation produced by the inclusion of architectural PBRs and circulating water with microorganisms in the constructive elements of the models. Again the results open a promising future to this new concept of facades increasing both passive and active energetic values.


  • Basic Wall
  • Curtain Wall
  • Thermal Transmittance
  • Hollow Brick
  • Sandwich Sheet

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-27505-5_17
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    Micro-algae biofertilizers are 100 % natural and harmless product, produce higher assimilation capacity and higher crop yield, promote root development, increase the leaf vigor and the flowering and fruit-setting, promote the regeneration of the damaged tissues, etc., For more information about biofertilizers, see Shannon B. Andrews, Quantifying the Fertilizer Value of Algal Meal: An Evaluation of an Integrated Dairy-Anaerobic Digester-Algae Production Facility, Master thesis in Soil Science, May 10, 2013,

  2. 2.

  3. 3.

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  5. 5.

    J. Pruvost et al., Symbiotic Integration of Photobioreactors in a factory building façade for mutual benefit between buildings and microalgae needs. For Mutual Benefit Between Buildings And Microalgae Needs.

  6. 6.

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    For more information: R. Cervera et al.,.


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We acknowledge the financial support by competitive pre-industrial research program given by CDTI (Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico Industrial) and the Government of Spain, Economic and Competitiveness Ministry. It has also been funded by Cervera and Pioz Architects S.L.P. We also acknowledge the cooperation of Professor Antonio Ruiz Elvira (University of Alcala, Professor Javier Sánchez Alejo (Madrid Polytechnic University) and Fernando Ochoa (Instituto Europeo de Design).

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Correspondence to Rosa Cervera Sardá .

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Cervera Sardá, R., Vicente, C.A. (2016). Case Studies on the Architectural Integration of Photobioreactors in Building Façades. In: Pacheco Torgal, F., Buratti, C., Kalaiselvam, S., Granqvist, CG., Ivanov, V. (eds) Nano and Biotech Based Materials for Energy Building Efficiency. Springer, Cham.

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