New research suggests protocell “skins” could be the secret to building carbon-negative architecture.
Researchers in Europe are collaborating on a project to develop materials that could eventually make it possible for buildings to produce water in desert environments or harvest sunlight to produce biofuels.
The University of Greenwich’s School of Architecture & Construction is poised to use ethical synthetic biology to create “living” materials that could be used to clad buildings and help combat the effects of climate change.
The idea is to use protocells – bubbles of oil in an aqueous fluid sensitive to light or different chemicals – to fix carbon from the atmosphere or to create a protective shell around the buildings, to protect them from erosion.
Professor Neil Spiller, an architect and head of the University of Greenwich’s School of Architecture & Construction, said the research team was looking at methods of using responsive protocells to clad cities in an ethical, green and sustainable way.