Author Archive

Integrating New and Proposed Technologies

February 9, 2010

Designing the Bioreactors

The project utilizes algae as its fuel medium both as a source of biodiesel as well as a possible source of hydrogen. Algae has the inherent ability to absorb green house gases as part of the photosynthesis process. Furthermore, algae production or farming has the ability to capitalize on the wasted resources of heat and CO2 emissions of most industrial processes while its own waste products provide possible resources for other industries. While many proposals for algae production take the form of other typical large-scale agricultural practices, the bioreactors required alow for a flexibility in their layout and deployment.

Algae Farm Proposal

In order that the bioreactors may be deployed along the unproductive faces of existing infrastructures, a smaller scale modular unit was developed. This unit has the ability to be arrayed, stacked or hung in a variety of ways while its facets allow it to capitalize on the various sun angles presented by different applications. Thus, it literally can plug-in to the resources presented by possible sites. The use of both the modular and industrial greenhouse scales allow for the most efficient adaptability within the network.


The main concept of the project is the successful integration of  both new and existing industries and infrastructures into one singularly managed and therefore, efficient network. As such it can allow for a shift in paradigms that makes itself more plausible by removing the perceived threat new proposals pose to existing industry. As already mentioned, the network both proposes its own and borrows from other solutions. Here is a brief overview of the two borrowed concepts.

Hybrid Air Vehicles

These seemingly retro airships represent a type of transportation that has emerged on a variety of fronts. Half dirigible and half plane, they are a vessel that exists somewhere between the speed of current air travel and the efficiency and capacity of sea freight. Using the emerging Skycat company as a model, this type of vehicle was integrated as a plausible and adaptable future transportation mode within the system.

The hydrogen/algae proposals

by 202 Collaborative

Upon researching the possibility of also producing hydrogen using algae, we came across the project entitled Icelandic New Energy. The proposal involved the use of algae ponds to produce H2 on site within a broader urban design strategy.

The proposed infrastructure is easily integrated into our broader scheme. The capture of hydrogen serves to not only suggest a possible ability for sites to turn over from biodiesel to fuel cell hydrogen production, but also a source for the hybrid vehicles buoyancy. The system was adapted to an industrial infrastructural capacity and provides another means by which to occupy the unutilized spaces of existing industry and providing on-site fuel supplies.

Components Within the System

The various elements put into play within the network represent how various strategies, when actively integrated, can suggest their own inherent phasing. As such they can be viewed as extensions to and spur morphological developments within an existing paradigm rather than be seen as antagonists to it.

The Canadian Petroleum Paradigm

February 9, 2010

The graphic above gives a representation of the typical petroleum consumption of Canada over a year while the one below gives an idea of the current annual output of the Alberta oil sands in order to gauge the general productivity of such a site.

The graph below plots out the changing trends in sources of energy as the petroleum paradigm becomes less and less viable. Relying mostly on the typical crops of soy and corn, biofuel represents a proportionately small part of the global energy supply considering its already huge negative impact on food production.

In order to meet just 10% of Canada’s domestic fuel needs (meaning none available for trade) 36% of the nations existing farmland would have to be changed over to the production of biodiesel. Again, this is based on the yield of typical crops such as corn and soy beans.

However, there are more productive sources for the oils needed for biodiesel that not only offer a potential greater efficiency but also suggest a new type of production and supporting infrastructure that would not interfere with agricultural processes within Canada.

The graphic above gives a relative comparison of the different crops used in the production of biodiesel around the world. Algae offers the potential for a substantially higher yield than the others even in the case of the less productive strains.

Coast to Coast

February 9, 2010

This entire thesis project grew out of an interest in infrastructure; more specifically, the role of what could be called national infrastructures in the development and construction of Canadian Identity. This interest grew into a research trip, part of which was an analysis of the Trans Canada Highway in the form of a cross-country drive from Victoria, BC to Halifax, NS in an 1988 Volkswagon Westfalia.

This project became about how the identity within the country has been framed around ideas of the landscape. The landscape within Canada has always served as an idealized image around which to rally. However, from the beginning Canada has largely been about access to natural resources in order to support both industry and economy.

Rather than see this as two disparate views of the role of landscape within Canada, it became useful to look at the distinction as cultural versus physical or metabolic consumption of the landscape. It became useful to understand infrastructure as an element within a landscape that was not an idealized or pristine wilderness but rather a complex system under constant flux that could be managed responsibly or irresponsibly.

The entire project behind the trip is available at the end of this post in its entirety. However, the following excerpt gives a summation of the ethos of the project and how it led to the conception of the broader design project…

“This panoramic image was conceived of as the meta-landscape made up of the curated images of our experience and observations along the drive across the Trans-Canada Highway system. It represents the beginning of our personal account of the journey. What follows is a set of informal journals, originally conceived of as a blog that was temporarily abandoned due to the absence of internet access in a van. While obviously subjective in nature, the central focus of the project remains the experiment of actually situating ourselves as the individuals at the centre of the experience hopefully giving the project a phenomenological clout it otherwise would not have had.

Viewed this way, landscape provides a way into the question of culture: its value, its perduration, its categories of worthy and unworthy, and the construction of culturebound identity-forming myths. It leads to considerations of how culture subsumes the individual at the same that individual agency helps shape culture, and of how the individual perceives the self as part of a specific culture…‘ -Wendy Joy Darby”

final independent study document_sando thordarson&stephen addeo (sm)