Vincent Callebaut, the Belgian eco-architect extraordinaire known for his whimsical and beautiful green conceptual work, has created yet another solution to the manifold environmental and health problems looming toward us with a fairly large ship running on a scattering of alternative energy sources (check out Hydrogenase, his vision for using biofuels instead of fossil fuels).
The Physalia, modeled on the jellyfish known as Physalia physalis, is a 262-foot long vessel created to purify rivers and waterways for the world’s people, from the Danube to the Tigris and Euphrates. It is also completely self-sustainable and a study in integrating multiple alternative energy strategies.
The Physalia produces zero carbon emissions thanks to its hydro-turbines, which transform the river’s energy into hydro-electricity. It is self-cleaning (and also cleans the water surrounding it) thanks to a covering of titanium dioxide. The TiO2 is supposed to absorb and recycle chemical and carbon byproducts produced by boats and industrial plants still running on fossil fuels via photocatalysis. The floating ecosystem also solves the problem of water scarcity via its bio-filtration systems (for a neat company already working on that, click here). The roof features a double pneumatic membrane covered by photovoltaic solar cells, as well as a green roof.
If this baby is ever built to specifications, expect to see the building transform into a cloud. Straight from the firm’s site:
“When the system of automatic irrigation works in “blue hours”, the architecture disappears in favour of an atmosphere. Actually, the project metamorphoses into a fog cloud with evanescent contour. The Physalia becomes therefore a perfumed evaporation space that seems to coil up the visitors in suspension inside.”
No word on the chemical make-up of the fog cloud is to be found, but it’s probably safe to assume that its production is also emissions-free and all-natural.
Though the viability of this solution has left me scratching my head (and many “green” architects create solutions to environmental problems that leave me scratching my head), we have to hand it to Mr. Callebaut for his creativity and focus on improving the world through design. In the meantime, take this futuristic concept for what it’s meant to be: inspiration based on actual technology, a symbol, and a goal.