Moss Voltaics

THU September 8, 2016 - MON September 12, 2016, 10AM - 7:30 PM
Credit: Elena Mitrofanova

Elena Mitrofanova

Moss Voltaics is a proposal for a green façade system that aims to explore how moss might be used as a source of renewable energy. The emerging technology to be used is called bio-photovoltaics (BPV), which uses the natural process of photosynthesis to generate electrical energy. In this process plants using light energy consume carbon dioxide and water from the environment to convert it into organic compounds. Some of those compounds are released through the roots to the soil where a symbiotic bacteria occurs. The bacteria break down the matter, liberating free electrons. By providing an electrode for the micro-organisms to donate their electrons to, electricity can be harvested.

The system is represented as a set of batteries. Each one is a modular ceramic brick that contains moss with its own microclimate. The moss is planted in a “soil” made of hydrogel and carbon fibers. The containers are designed to interlock without any need for mortar. Interlocking also enables electrical connections in one circuit, which generates 3V/20mA, enough to charge LED lighting.

Moss Voltaics is a Research Project developed by the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IaaC) at Open Thesis Fabrication 2014 by:

Researcher: Elena Mitrofanova
IAAC Faculty: Silvia Brandi, Alexandre Dubor, Luis Fraguada
Scientific development: Paolo Bombelli, University of Cambridge
Collaboration: Toni Cumella, Ceramica Cumella