What: Experimenting for an algae bioreactor designed to be set up on the barges of Regent's Canal in London
Why: Citizen science, bioremediating heavy metals, reusing local waste material from other industries
How: Phycoremediation, low technology, citizen science
Where: London, UK

This project took shape starting from experimenting with the microalgae strain Parachlorella Kessleri, provided by Saul Purton - Head of the UK Algae Network. Amongst other characteristics, this strain has the ability to grow and bioremediate polluted environments, by digesting different types of contaminants. We tested those variables that were of interest in terms of the type of wastewater stream, and environmental factors of our local context - the settings are summarised in the diagrams. The main concept we developed while narrowing our focus, is the bioremediation of heavy metals in the London Regent’s Canal.
Coming to the design of the bioreactor, the key focus points of our speculative proposal are the locality of its application, the materials coming from a local waste stream, and the citizen science aspect in order to make this practice accessible and informative. The resulting structure is composed of gin bottles from the London distillery solid waste, reused as modular bioreactor containers. The structure is designed to be set up on the London barges, in close contact with the canal, involving typical elements already found in the boating context, such as the ropes. It can be set up in the size and setting preferred by the user and inhabitant of the barge - interviews with potential users were conducted during the project, who were asked to freely show how they would place the object and where.
Project conducted with Cassandra Quinn, Carolina Kyvik Ruiz, Kit Ondaatje Rolls, Marie Melcore - within MA Biodesign, CSM UAL
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