LillyBot 2.0

Installation, 2014
Cesare Griffa (IT)

A personal microalgae farm is an environmentally friendly way to produce a complete nutritional source that grows at the highest rates through photosynthesis, fixing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen.

Lillybot 2.0 creates the perfect environment for Chlorella to grow, providing an optimised light exposure, an efficient natural aerating system and carbon dioxide feeding, and an efficient agitating system that avoids the formation of algae deposits. The Chlorella grows in a specific water medium composed of non-chlorinated water and nutrients such as sodium bicarbonate, ammonium phosphate, sea salt and potassium nitrate. The sodium bicarbonate creates an environment that resembles the ash lakes in which Chlorella naturally grows.

When visitors approach Lillybot 2.0, the unit will react by boosting light and bubbling carbon dioxide, increasing the algae’s metabolism. A solution to the worsening issue of air quality and domestic energy shortages? Or a biofuel red herring? Chlorella’s growth rates are fast because, like all photosynthetic unicellular organisms and unlike more complex green organisms, close to one hundred percent of its cells participate in the growth process.

About the artist: 

Cesare Griffa is an architect based in Torino, Italy. Cesare’s current research explores possible applications of microalgal biotechnology for sustainable architecture and design.