A highway overpass is the last place most of us would think to install a farm. But algae, that wonderful little ecological miracle, is different. Since it consumes sunlight and CO2 and spits out oxygen, places with high emissions are actually the perfect growing area. Which is why this overpass in France has its own algae farm.
Built this summer as part of a festival in Genève, the farm is actually fairly simple: It thrives on the emissions of cars that pass below it, augmented by sunlight. A series of pumps and filters regulate the system, and over time, the algae matures into what can be turned into any number of usable products. According to the designers behind it, the Dutch and French design firm Cloud Collective, those uses can range from combustible biomass to material for use in cosmetics and other consumer-facing products.
Of course, this is just a proof of concept — an installation to explain how easy it would be to do this on a larger scale. But that's just as important, at this point. Injecting an emerging system like algae into the public consciousness, bit by bit, shows how realistic a larger scale version could really be. [Cloud Collective; DesignBoom]