Serbian scientists build an urban photo-bioreactor that captures CO2 and produces oxygen in the same way that trees do.
LIQUID3 is a photo-bioreactor that uses microalgae to produce photosynthesis and remove the same amount of CO2 as two ten-year-old trees in an outdoor, urban setting.
The effects of climate change can be addressed through sustainable design in a variety of ways. Sustainable design is all around us, providing varied degrees of mitigation against the threat of climate change, from bio-receptive concrete that produces moss on its own to vertical urban forests that reimagine what organic building could look like.
Designer: University of Belgrade
In metropolitan settings, where green spaces are few, designers face a unique difficulty in developing sustainable infrastructure. Researchers at the University of Belgrade developed LIQUID3, an urban photo-bioreactor for CO2 fixation and generation, in an unusual approach to climate change planning.
“The microalgae replaces two, 10-year-old trees or 200 square metres of lawn,” said Dr Ivan Spasojevic, one of the authors of the project from the Institute for Multidisciplinary Research at the University of Belgrade.
Due to two huge coal power plants nearby, Belgrade is Serbia’s fourth most polluting city.
According to the European NGO Health and Environment Alliance, the two plants are among the top ten dirtiest in Europe (HEAL).
According to the IQAir’s World Air Quality Report, Serbia was Europe’s fifth most polluted country in 2019, with an average PM 2.5 pollution level.
Serbia was also the subject of greater investigation in December 2019, after scientists stated the country had Europe’s worst per capita record for pollution-related deaths: 175 per 100,000 inhabitants.
A photo-bioreactor is a vessel that employs a light source, such as natural sunshine, to develop phototrophic microorganisms that produce biomass and is located in Serbia’s capital city. LIQUID3 is a photo-bioreactor teeming with microalgae that sequesters carbon and performs photosynthesis to produce oxygen, created and constructed by the University of Belgrade’s Institute for Multidisciplinary Research.
The photo-bioreactor can remove equivalent amounts of carbon dioxide as two 10-year-old trees or 200 square metres of green space because each LIQUID3 vessel holds 600 litres of water. The naturally photosynthesizing microalgae in LIQUID3 simply require a light source to perform the same carbon-capturing duty as trees in metropolitan environments that are often devoid of green spaces.
LIQUID3 was honored with the Green Product Award’s Green Concept Award for 2022 for its pioneering approach to green, bio-reactive design. LIQUID3 promotes an efficient use of public land, as well as room for interactive marketing and a high-value fertilizer, in addition to its appeal to sustainable design. Its position in a densely populated neighborhood of Belgrade also encourages city inhabitants to become more aware of the threat of climate change to cities.
Configured like small urban meeting spaces, the LIQUID3 stations could be outfitted with outlets for city residents to charge their devices.
Come dark, LIQUID3 transforms into a neon-green light to guide residents through the streets.
An integrated bench space turns LIQUID3 into a social hub for city residents to gather and feel encouraged to keep fighting climate change.