Cloud Collective: Highway Side Algae Farm Devours Pollutants

Most highway side landscaping does little more than pretty up the drive for commuters, but that could change. The Cloud Collective, a Dutch and French design firm dedicated to bringing innovative design to our everyday surroundings, may have perfected the use of plants to aid in the reduction of automobile pollution.

Culture Urbaine, The Cloud Collective’s contribution for the garden festival Genève: Villes et Champs, takes the festivals focus, the urban and the natural coexisting despite urban expansion, and adds a dash of environmental benefit. Like many of the other festivals installments, The Cloud Collective has combined modern art and nature in their creation.

Image: The Cl
Image: The Cloud Collective

Culture Urbaine is a closed system of transparent tubes, mounted to the side of existing structures, in this case an overpass bridge in Switzerland, used to produce algae. The algae in turn can be used to filter CO2 from the air.

This sketch of the original concept shows the nearby secondary equipment such as pumps, filters and solar panels used to run the system and maintain the algae.

Image: The Cloud Collective
Image: The Cloud Collective

The proof of concept installation, which is  a small version of the potential the design could yield, demonstrates the ease with which such new technology could be implemented. Using already existing structures as its base, The Cloud Collective also hopes their design could lead to something even more innovative than air cleaning algae. From their website:

“The functioning and the placement of this bioreactor signals practices of the future: food production in an urban environment, the conservation of green space and the reinterpretation of existing infrastructures.”

The idea of using all potential space to grow both edible and helpful plants is exactly the point of Genève: Villes et Champs, which features the installations of the top 14 ideas submitted. Other installations include Fountain Spirulina, a modern fountain used to grow edible spirulina algae, and the Digestive Garden, which focuses on using human waste as fertilizer to grow ones own food.

Humans are in the midst of an ever-growing environmental crises and the goal of Genève: Villes et Champs is to take what we know and how we live and use that knowledge to improve the living conditions and increase the sustainability of that existence. Only time will tell if algae farms will line the highways and freeways of the U.S, but the fact that there are people on the job is certainly reassuring.

What do you think of the idea of more sustainable uses of plants and living spaces? Let us know in the comments below or visit Grizzly Bombs Facebook page to tell us what you think.

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