In an age of depleting oil reserves and increasing energy demand, humanity faces a stalemate between environmentalism and politics, where crude oil is traded at record highs yet the spotlight on being ‘green’ and sustainable is stronger than ever. A key theme on today’s political agenda is energy independence from foreign nations, and the United Kingdom is bracing itself for nuclear renaissance which is hoped will feed the rapacious centralised system that the UK is structured upon. But what if this centralised system was dissembled, and in its place stood dozens of cities which grow and monopolise from their own energy? Rather than one dominant network, would a series of autonomous city-based energy systems not offer a mutually profitable alternative? Bio-Port is a utopian vision of a ‘Free Energy City’ set in Liverpool, where the old dockyards, redundant space, and the Mersey Estuary have been transformed into bio-productive algae farms. Bio-Port Free Energy City is a utopian ideal, where energy is superfluous; in fact so abundant that meters are obsolete. The city functions as an energy generator and thrives from its own product with minimal impact upon the planet it inhabits. Algaculture is the fundamental energy source, where a matrix of algae reactors swamp the abandoned dockyards; which themselves have been further expanded and reclaimed from the River Mersey. Each year, the algae farm is capable of producing over 200 million gallons of bio-fuel, which in-turn can produce enough electricity to power almost 2 million homes. The metabolism of Free-Energy City is circular and holistic, where the waste products of one process are simply the inputs of a new one. Livestock farming – once traditionally a high-carbon countryside exercise has become urbanised. Cattle are located alongside the algae matrix, and waste gases emitted by farmyards and livestock are largely sequestered by algal blooms or anaerobically converted to natural gas. Bio-Port Free Energy City mitigates the imbalances between ecology and urbanity, and exemplifies an environment where nature and the human machine can function productively and in harmony with one another. According to James Lovelock, our population has grown in number to the point where our presence is perceptibly disabling the planet, but in order to reverse the effects of our humanist flaws, it is vital that new eco-urban utopias are realised.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||MONU :Magazine on Urbanism|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 2009|