An algae bioreactor grows algae with nutrients and sunlight to produce enough biomass to make biofuels for use in combustion engines. After oil is extracted from algae, the remnants are turned into fertilizer, animal feed and cosmetics.
Algae blooms increase as photosynthesis occurs and nutrients are consumed. Bioreactors are emptied, and algae is regrown when the containers are filled and the plants are harvested.
The world's first building facade made from an algae bioreactor is an apartment building in Hamburg, Germany. The International Building Exhibition helped design and build the complex, which uses algae as a fuel source, an insulator and solar collector. Algae takes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and gives off oxygen after respiration.