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biophotovoltaic (BPV) algae sensors

This project focused on using and adapting the bio-photovoltaic film system to create an adaptive energy-sensing algae cell, harnessing this microorganism’s ability to harvest solar energy and generate electricity via the photosynthesis process. The cell panel rotates to agitate the algae and generates electricity through a network of conductive anode and cathode meshes with a carbon catalyst to transfer electrons from the cell surface to the electrode that harvests them. The structure lays out each panel in such a way as to maximize solar exposure without sun-bleaching the biofilms. Through connected tubing within the transparent structure, the power output from this setup can sense the energy output and monitor different conditions in which algae can be energy-generating.

BioCatalytic Cell was developed during a Biophotovoltaic seminar at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) at the Master in Advanced Architecture program in 2016.


Project by: Thora H Arnardottir, Jessica Dias & Christopher Wong

Tutors: Chiara Farinea, Paolo Bombelli, Carmelo Zappulla & Maria Kuptsova.
Biology Support: Núria Conde Pueyo
Guest Advisor: Claudia Pasquero 

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(2019) Ramirez, M.C. (ed)Biocatalytic Cell: Organismo Vivo Generador De Energia. Pasajes Arquitecture, diseno e innovation. Issue 148. Madrid, Spain. p.18

(2017) Markoupoulou, A., Farinea, C. & Marengo, M. Biocatalytic cells biophotovoltaic (bpv) algae sensor. Implementing technology towards active public space // “how to” guide. Institut d’arquitectura avançada de Catalunya. Barcelona, Spain. pp.296-299.

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