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Energy Accreted Ecologies Design Thesis Book

// Tutors Claudia Pasquero Marco Polleto // Team Artemis Karaiskou Anna Sideri Antonios Lalos

B-Pro_Bartlett School of Architecture _ University College London _ MArch Urban Design _ 2012-2013 3


_Acknowledgements We would like to express our very deep gratitude to our tutors Claudia Pasquero and Marco Polletto for their engagement, constructive suggestions and guidance during the development of this design research project. We are particularly grateful for the assistance given by Andrea Bugli(Grasshopper) and Tomasso Casuci (Processing) in computational techniques. Special thanks to the BIODESERT research team for providing us usefull information regarding our research. We would also like to acknowledge the contribution of all the guests in crits during the year in constructing a more mature argument and more specifically Eduardo Rico, Lucy Bulivant, Stephen Cage, Lorenzo Pezzani and Marcos Cruz, who followed us throughout the research period and observe the progress. Finally, we would like to deeply thank our families and friends for their support and encouragement throughout this experience.

A_A_A 5

Energy Accreted Ecologies



.Abstract .Energy Matter _ the demand for energy _ global energy need vs. local frigile ecology .Inhabbiting the Extreme _ terrain _ agriculture _ urban desity _ territories _ one of the most Mars-like places on earth _ resistant bacteria _ modeling the extreme .Urban Design Proposal _ energy accreted ecologies .Energy Accreted Prototypes _ bedouin power house _ bio-dune lab _ water hub .Bacteriologic accreted inhabition

7 9









Our project takes place in a very unique context at the borders of the Sahara Desert, in the Southern Tunisia and stimulates a new agri-urban territory. More specifically, our proposal is applied in one of the biggest salt lakes, the Chott el Djerid salt lake where the consequences of desertification have transform it into a complete dry and arid landscape. The area that it is known for centuries as an important trading post of caravan routes crossing the Sahara desert to the northeastern Mediterranean coast, now is undertaking a new kind of trading, that of renewable energy, that will be distribute and consumed to the hole European region. Towards this shift, desert is seen as a new terrain for exploiting renewable energy through large scale solar panels (Tunur pilot project), that are placed in what it is consider to be an “empty and dead� landscape. Under this context, our project aims to discuss the frictions between such a huge development in the desert and the ecology of the wider are, by reconsidering the relationship between territory, man and nature. Through our design, we propose new urban settlements and infrastructures (the Bedouin Power House, the Bio-Dune Lab, the Water Hub) that constitute innovative design approaches by taking advantage of the natural ingredients extracted from the landscape, by creating an alternative and more ecologic way of inhabiting such extreme environments and an alternative vision of energy production, that corresponds to the cultural, environmental and social needs of the area.




_energy matter


Electricity Demand EU & MENA Countries 12


_ the demand for energy Following worldwide mass urbanization, the demand for energy is growing more and more in global scale. At the same time preventing the depletion of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, gas, efforts have been made for a change of mind and for a shift from an egoist human behaviour to a nature responsible way of living. Towards that shift, organizations have been formed proposing a new vision of an interconnected EUMENA region though a renewable grid. Such a paradigm, the Mediterranean Solar Plan (MSP), launched on 2008, is a flagship initiative of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM). It aims to improve energy efficiency and energy savings, boost the use of solar energy and other renewable energy sources for power generation and develop electricity grid interconnections. Within its supporters Desertec project stands out. DESERTEC foundation grew out of a network of scientists, politicians and economists from around the Mediterranean, who together developed the DESERTEC Concept. However, this concept is now being converted into reality by the DESERTEC Industrial Initiative, a consortium of blue-chip companies. Taking a closest look into the personalities and players - heads of state, global CEOs, social entrepreneurs, and NGOs - who are pioneering its implementation we can observe similalarities with the current market that drives the energy sector economy. Juxtapose this approach Jeremy Rifkin in his book explores how Internet technology and renewable energy are merging to create a powerful “Third Industrial Revolution.” He asks us to imagine hundreds of millions of people producing their own green energy in their homes, offices, and factories, and sharing it with each other in an “energy internet,” just like we now create and share information online.





Super producers


Super Smart Grid 15

Tunur Pilot Project 16

“One has to tap energy where it is found, and solar energy, you have lots of it in the Sahara region. If the initiative takes into consideration the requirements of the local people, then I don’t see any problem,” “If it’s just something to make money... that’s where at the beginning we had some doubts about the initiative. We were saying that it’s a typical, neo-colonialist approach, coming to exploit the resources from Africa and taking it to Europe.” “The other persistent criticism may be harder to counter -- that the project will exploit poorer countries for the benefit of richer ones.” “....creating business cases, as is being tried in the Industrial Initiative, is critical, in addition to awareness in society and politics and academia. But finally, it comes down to the self-regulatory capacity of aspecies growing from seven to ten billion.” Pete Guest, “Vision in the desert: how Tunisian plains could provide all of Europe’s energy”, Wired Magazine, 10 (2012) [accessed 7 March 2013]


= 500 people

sociopolitical colturaly

Friction fields 18

water scarcity

energy territory-economy


_ global energy vs. local fragile ecology Tunur solar power project will be the pilot test bed of the DESERTEC reality promising to export 2 GW in Central Europian countries. A plot of will be covered with 1.000.000 mirrors in the southwest outskirts of the Chott el Jerid lake. The process of manufacturing, building, and operating will have a huge impact in the wider area. In order to be in a position to aknowledge the possible friction we choose to investigate the legendary oasis city of Tozeur, which covers an area similar to the proposed Tunur site. At this current time Tozeur is faced with a number of problems resulting in its people abandoning their agricultural life, and facing jobs such as tourism. Water is being exploited, current wells are drying and in order to get some water it needs to be drilled reaching the peth of 2,5 km underground. Meanwhile, Tunur project needs water supply for its operation while water as a source is a sensitive issue in Tozeur area. In the Tunur brief it is argued that the water will be taken from the agricultural wastes and the dry cooling option will reduce water requirement by 90% however the general need for water in Tozeur will increase per 10%. Moreover, Tunur brief states that 60% of the capital expenditure will be done locally to produce simple mirrors and similar equipment. Consequently, new manufacturing industries will be built in the wider area. More specifically, Tunur has announced a number of jobs that will be created during construction and operation. It states that in 6 years of construction up to 1500 direct jobs will have to be created, with a further 20,000 jobs created indirectly across the whole supply chain and during operation. However, only 50 people will be needed for operation.



Tunur’s estimated annual water consumption is expected to be the 30% of the Tozeur annual agriculture consumption


People in Tozeur dig up to 2,5km. deep in the ground to find water.



_inhabiting THE EXTREME


Chott El-Djerid salt lake 24


_ terrain In southern Tunisia, the chott el Jerid is a closed basin of 10,500 km 2, whose bottom lies at only 17 m above sea-level. The climate is arid and characterized by a mean annual temperature of 20째C, a mean annual rainfall of 134 mm and a mean annual evaporation of 1500 mm. The basin is bordered by cretaceous, miopliocene and quaternary rocks such as argillaceous sands, gypsum deposits, marls, limestone and dolomitic carbonates. In the chott, the Quaternary deposits are essentially formed by sands, clays, gypsum and halite. The salt content of the chott comes, with the runoff and groundwaters, from salt dissolutions affecting the sediments of the surrounding basin. The Saharian platform in Southern Tunisia is divided into different geomorphic logical units connected to recent structural neotectonic evidence and climate evolution. Eolian dunes form thick sequences of crossbedded sand and sandstones. It is possible to observe fossil dunes associated with modern active dunes. The fossil dunes rest as pinnacles of moderately cemented sand on a deflation surface that represents also the base of the active dunes. The association of fossil and active dunes means that a change in climatic conditions de-activated the eolian deposition and the pore water started an early cementation of the sand.




Terrain bathimetry Friction areas Chott el Jerid Lake bed Evaporated ponds Max elevation - 158m Max depretion - 39m

Terrain 27


Agricultural Area Water desilination waste areas Chott el Jerid Lake bed Evaporated ponds Max elevation - 158m Max depretion - 39m

Salinity affected areas 29


Wind direction and strength Agricultural Area Chott el Jerid Lake bed Evaporated ponds Max elevation - 158m Max depretion - 39m Elevation from the sea level-17m

Wind Measures 31

Water wells in the asis city of Tozeur 32


_ agriculture Being a fertile spot in an arid environment, the oasis of Tozeur became an artificial agriculture area, where 2000 natural springs used to provide the oasis with fresh water. Unfortunately, since a few decades the depletion of most of the natural springs led to the creation of wells, where water is been drilled deep in the ground reaching from 60m. to 2500m. More specifically, two are the aquiferous systems that cover the zone of study and consist the exploitable resources for agriculture usage: The groundwater table of the Final Complex(CT) and the water table of “Continental Interclaire” (CI). More and more wells are being constructed in research of fresh water and new agriculture plots are emerging towards the northwest side of the oasis. Due to the lack of water resources farmers were abandoning the agriculture activities for several years and turned into the touristic industry. The only plantations that were continuing to be cultivated were date palm trees and the rest of the existing oasis was kept ‘alive’ for touristic purposes. However, after the igniting of the Arab Spring the touristic industry rates in the area has been kept low and more and more local people turn back to their agriculture plots again to keep them fertile. The agriculture plots of the area can be divided in three subcategories: The old oasis, adjacent Tozeur city, was initially being owned by 5 families but now the plots have been subdivided in more owners. The new oasis plots, at the outskirts of the city in a higher level, were a government project initiated 20 years ago with the creation of new fossil water wells. Finally, illegal plots adjacent old oasis being cultivated by DIY farmers who excavate ponds with depth of 3-6 m in research of water that can cultivate their oasis.




DIY plots wells 80-90% 70-80% 60-70% 50-60% 40-50% 30-40% 20-30% 10-20% salty plots

Agriculture density 35


agriculture plot wells 90m -100m 80m-90m 70m -80m 60m-70m 50m-60m 40m -50m 30m-40m 20m-30m 10m-20m

Oasis Wells proximity 37


0m -10m 10m-20m 0m -10m 10m-20m 0m -10m 10m-20m 0m -10m 10m-20m 0m -10m 10m-20m 10m-20m 0m -10m 10m-20m ferric iron ponds ferric iron ponds

Agriculture density 39

Local people in the city of Tozeur 40


_ urban density The oasis city of Tozeur is the proper prototype of inhabitance in such an inhospitable place as the Sahara Desert, located at the edge of one of the biggest salt lakes of Tunisia, the Chott El Djerid salt lake. The city of Tozeur is known from ancient times as an important trading post of the caravan routes from the Sahara desert and Algeria to the northeastern Mediterranean coast. By mapping the occupying system of each building in the city of Tozeur, it is clearly observed the differentiation of the city’s density. Through this variation, the city can be divided into three zones, the old Medina, the main city and the ‘touristic zone’. The old city of Tozeur, the medina, with its distinctive traditional brickwork architecture, was situated from the ancient times close to the oasis where people used to settle in order to cultivate and agriculture was their main activity at that time. The rest of the city is less dense than the Medina and spreads mostly towards the northern part of the city over the national road that links the city of Tunis with Algeria. The third part of the city, the ‘touristic zone’, which is less dense than the other two zones, due to the fact that larger scale buildings such as hotels and leisure activities take place, is expanding towards the south-western part of the city. It is clearly observed that the city of Tozeur is shifting away from the oasis towards the south-west, where new artificial plantations (golf areas) are emerging close to the tourist zone.




the old Medina

the city of Tozeur

the touristic zone

Urban density 43


local road regional road national road



Urban infrastructure 45

Water ponds evaporation layers 46


_ territories The 2000 natural springs that used to provide the city of Tozeur with water, where the fundamental reason for human settlements around the oasis. Desertification and environmental conditions have transform the ecology of the lake and turn it into a complete dry and arid landscape. The high levels of sality that occur, due to the lack of rainfall, are affecting the agriculture growth of the oasis. New agricutlure plots are emerging away form the old oasis, in research for a more fertile ground as well as for fresh water. By mapping the urban density, the wells occyping system as well as the deepest points in the lake, it is clearly observed a comparison between the water ponds that emerge naturally in the salt lake and the points where the water is being extracted artificially by human.




water wells city of Tozeur water salt crust

5 20

10 25


water evaporation levels city density

high low

altitute levels

Density territories 49


water wells city of Tozeur water salt crust wells network water ponds network

Water wells and water ponds network 51

salt lake _ mirrage effect 52


_ one of the most Mars-like places on earth The Chott el Jerid Lake is located in southern Tunisia, adjacent to the Tunisian-Algerian borders, and covers an area of The springs that used to feed the oasis, now have run dry. Instead of the springs, the fail lines of the Continental Interclaire aquifer are now the points that add naturally a low amount of water to the surface but twice a decade in extreme precipitations the lake floods, leaving the signs of salt crust that are formed during the evaporation of the water. During the summer months the lake is always dry and only few months of the year in normal condition smaller water ponds are formed where the levels of gypsum and halite runs higher than the wider area. Consequently, in these regions there is more life existence of cynobacteria and algae which is noticeable from the red colour of the ferric iron formed during their photosynthesis. These regions also constitute the potentials sites for algae and cynobacteria cultivation which will lead to the production of energy through a long procedure that will take place in the wider area of the lake with the help of local people. In the following maps we can also see the existing road infrastructure that links the several oasis and urban settlements around the lake whereas we can compare the scale of the TUNUR project that has been proposed. Comparing its scale with the existing urban areas we can understand the impact that such a project would have and the amount of water that would be needed. It is even bigger than the oasis city of Tozeur which is the largest of its type in the Jerid area.




0m -10m 10m-20m ferric iron ponds CI faults Tunisian borders urban settlements oasis farmlands

Water resources 55


0m -10m 10m-20m 0m -10m 10m-20m 10m-20m 0m -10m 10m-20m ferric iron ponds CI faults Tunisian borders urban settlements oasis farmlands

Water resources 57

salt gypsum live sample



_ resistant bacteria Deserts are apparently lifeless, yet a number of habitats exist. Resistant bacteria. Saline lakes in arid regions are examples of high salty environments inhabited by extremely halophilic microorganisms that include halophilic Archaea (halobacteria), halophilic cyanobacteria,and green algae. These lakes are characterized by standing and shallow ephemeral waters with periodic salinity dilution during the wet season. The total number and diversity of prokaryotic communities decrease with increase in salinity. When the waters aproach saturation halophilic archaea dominates without any significant presence of bacteria. Microorganisms must have specific adaptive strategies for surviving in high salinity conditions: halophiles generally develop two basic mechanisms to prevent the loss of cellular water under high osmolarity in hypersaline conditions ,halobacteria and some anaerobic halophiles accumulate in their cells to maintain high intracellular salt concentritions, osmotically at least equivalent to the external concentrations (the“salt-in� strategy) other halophiles produce or accumulate lowmolecular weight compounds that have osmotic potential. Besides tolerating high salinity, microorganisms inhabiting mineral soils of hot and cold deserts are subjected to the intense sunlight, the ultraviolet radiationand desiccation conditions.




Tessellation Bacterium Growth Contour Material sample depth Proximity

Growth distaces

Cyanobacterium salina composition

Endolithic Cyanobacteria 61


Circle field Evaporation areas Cyanobacteria Bacterium Growth

Circle field Pond depth Caroten B/Algae Dun Growth rate

Salt accretion - April Salt accretion - April Salt accretion - May Salt accretion - May Salt accretion - June Salt accretion - July

Bacterial colonisation patterns 63

physical model 64


_ modeling the extreme The physical representation of the processes taking place in the wider area of the Chott el Jerid has been modeled and represented by algorithmic techniques that measure the data that our research has been generating. Three main processes that represent the diversity of the landscape as well as the densities of inhabitation have been modeled. Operations such as the collection of salt brine and salinity levels of deep ponds within the lake have been represented by gradients of proximity lines that link collection points of salt extraction .Deposits of water as well as shallow wells have been modeled on the vertical axis by layering the depth of each pond and also by tessellating the affected area of each water well. The urban density of Tozeur the largest city around the Chott el Jerid area has been modeled by tessellating the urban settlements .



urban density, water wells, water ponds


the emergence of sant crystals through water evaporation



_ URBAN design proposal




_ energy accreted ecologies Our proposal understands the opportunities of Tunur pilot project, acknowledges the frictions that may be implemented with the local communities and propose an alternative vision, targeting to epower local people by engaging them to produce small amounts of energy for their own purpose within an ecological impact at the scale of the territory of the lake. The project endeavours to create an energy market in local levels that will create a self-sufficient, new kind of civilization that will start as a test bed from Chott El Jerid area but could then expand to North Africa region where the DESERTEC concept has plans to locate its projects. We introduce a series of actors to move into the lake and at its boarders, and begin to extract the resources they need to survive and to improve their life by starting a new way of living, a new society. The discovery of bacteria, algae, microorganisms and natural ingredients, such as sand and salt, in the arid landscape of the lake provides an inspiration and an exploitation of their principles as design mechanism, in order to generate form. The new urban settlement that is created along the boarders and inside the salt lake, takes advantage of these ingredients found in the landscape, turning the lake into a huge “energy� battery, by creating an ecologic way of inhabiting and extracting energy. In order to succed it, we inject prototypes that will start creating energy networks within the lake and constitute a new bioindustrial landscape. Harvesting bacteria in the desert for improving the agricultural growth, exrtarcting water to produce energy, cultivating algae for biofulel, are the introduced activities that will trigger the new form of urbanism through a dynamic process. The main objective remains to empower local people along with researchers and scientists to produce energy.




aggregated agglomeration

energy network<10

natural forces

EEnergy networks 73


Time step 25 of 365

Time step 50 of 365

Time step 75 of 365

Time step 125 of 365

Time step 150 of 365

Time step 175 of 365

Time step 225 of 365

Time step 250 of 365

Time step 275 of 365

Time step 100 of 365

Time step 200 of 365

potentianl sources of energy (energy) aggregated agglomeration

Agglomeration over time Time step 350 of 365


Seed: Attraction


Seed: Repulsion

Particle A (agents): Self attraction / repulsion


_ urban dynamic simulation studies

The prototypes we introduce in our design, are utilizing the ingredients found in the lakeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s landscape (desert sand, salt, bacteria, algae) and are using their aggregation process as an effective solution to built with materials of nature. In order to define the distribution of our prototypes on site, urban dynamic simulations where being tested, though the Diffusion Limited Aggregation [DLA] simulation script, as a way to simulate how a natural process can be employed to generate urban settlements. Diffusion Limited Aggregation is a process for generating organic form, where particles (agents) moving through space cluster together when they come within a certain distance of an already fixed point (seed), creating an aggregate form that is built over time. In our urban dynamic simulation studies, we used as attraction points (seeds) the deepest points of the lake, the water wells and the sand dunes, as potential resources of energy in the area. As moving particles (agents), natural flows of wind and water flooding where introduced for the generation of form. The result was an accumulation of natural ingredients in different parts of the lake which indicates the potential resources of energy as well as location of our urban prototypes.





Bio-Dune lab


Water Hub


Bedouin Power House<10


Nomadic Biofiel Station

EEnergy networks 79

AGRICULTURE bacteria harvesting bacteria growth for agriculture agriculture plots cynobacteria harvesting

[BP] Bedouin Power House

RESEARCH research of bacteria for agricultrural growth research of sainity levels geological research_ mars like location

INDUSTRY bacteria growth for agriculture from biomass(oasis)_ biofuel energy production of energy via hosmosis salt water batteries production energy storage water dessalination spirulina production

[BD] Bio-Dune Lab

TOURISM leisure activities(SPA with salt or soil) observationâ&#x20AC;?bacteria processing watchingâ&#x20AC;? agrotourism energy networks promenade




Water Hub


/// inhabitation emerges through natural accretion






_energy accreted PROTOTYPES




_ Bedouin Power House Today the Bedouin society has been introduced to modern education and technologies but the young population is dreaming of returning to deserted areas and far away from the urban environment.The project will reinvent the Bedouin society and upgrade their nomadic lifestyle. Use of twenty first century skills will be accommodated within the proposed settlements for the nomads to sustain independent survival with no need for further infrastructural industries. The Bedouin Powerhouse will sustain certain traditional morals and meet technological advance to create the new prototype of nomadic life.The location for this proposal is within the Chott el Jerid Salt Lake, an area that is poorly used but with great potential. The resources within this dry lake are plenty in order to sustain the nomadic life of the Bedouin but need careful planning and skilled self labour.The prototype will produce heavily needed resources for the urbanised population of the cities that surround the salt lake such as Tozeur, Nefta, Kebili and Douz. The prototype will mainly use bio tecnology and biochemical extraction of resources.cyanobacteria/algae will be used to produce electricity and self sustain the proposed infastructure. In other words the Bedouin power house will be an infrastructural prototype that sustain the life with in it but also fuels the urban environment in close proximity.A system of prototypes within the lake will collectively produce and exchange bio fuels, electricity, food supplements, pharmaceuticals products as well as some touristic activities that will generate some income or water resources. The main idea is not to generate economic resources but in some cases it will be suitable for the accomplice of urban made materials. recourses.





(algD) Algae Dunaliella - is usually located inside cristal halite and saturated brine

(hBac) Halobacteria - is usually located in saturated brine

(cBac) Cyanobacteria - is usually located in the salt crust/halite crust/gypsum ridges


Carotene B - is usually located within the composition of liquid water in ponds around the chotts


Bioboltaic research Biofuel production research Pharmacutical suppliments research Biological research

Electricity production Biofuel production Food suppliments Pharmacutical products



Agrotouristic activities Spa facilities using local ingredients Food markets(spiroulina ,caroten) Resting facilities Touristic

Pond depth Agricultural plots Oasis Urban

Activities/Bio.mater 93

_ exploded axonometric view

_Initial Structure _Algae Dunaliela


Salty Ponds_

Bedouin Powerhouse



Actors_Bedouin Settlement

Deap areas (- 4m)

Plan view of artificial pond

Cyanobacteria located areas

Algae production network

Productivity diagram

Pondâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s proximity_(Cp10)



Bedouin settlements


Geological and Biological research facility BEdouin Settlements

Production Units

Social Infustructure

Inithial Bedouin Prototype 97


3D Scanned accretion formation 99


3D Scanned sculpture 101

Accreted external skin.The structure will evolvve eith the time and it will create an accretion layer. The structure will also include an accretion mechanism that will further simulate the materiality of the prototype.

A sprincler system will be used to form and sustain the accretion on the main structure of the prototype. The sprincle rmechanism will extract salt water and spray it on the higher points of the exo-skeleton.

The main structure is generated by the geometry of the pond.The structure will support most of the production elements.the structure is designed based on the proximity of the pond. The shape of the structure reminds a small hill and its createdin order to blend into the landscape.

The pond will be created artificialy and it will grow the needed ingredients for the Bedouin to extract and trade.

The ground structure is the the area that will grow the endolithic cyanobacteria that will be used to produce biomass-biofuels and electricity.

The Surface of the lake contains the needed microorganism to infect the inside of the accreted mass.


Exploded axonometric view 103


100 frames _0:10min

200 frames _0:20min

300 frames _0:30min

400 frames _0:40min

500 frames _0:50min

600 frames _1:00min

700 frames _1:10min

800 frames _1:20min

900 frames _1:30min

1000 frames _1:40min

1100 frames _1:50min

1200 frames _2:00min


Material System Exploded View

The first stage of the construction is the the shape and the dimensions of the mother prototype. The prototypes structure will be manually constructed as well as the pipe network of the sprinklers system. Due to the location of the pond (Depressions areas of the Chott el Jerid salt lake) the prototype will accrete naturally up to certain point. This accretion as well as the accretion from the sprinkler system will generate a solid outer layer to the structure .Within this outer layer the bacteria will thrive and will be used as a starting point for the colonisation of microorganisms.

Materiality Prototype 1// Metallic support structure. 2// Sprinkler tube system. 3// Salt accreted structure. 4// Salt accreted pond. 5// Natural salty water.


Material System 107

_bacteria experiment model

3d Printed Petri dish model of Gypsum Crust Detail - Bacteria Production

3d Printed Petri dish model of Endolithic Detail - Bacteria Production


Growth ratio

Micro photographs of the model _Bacteria growing on the 3d printed surface


_bacteria experiment model

3d Printed Petri dish model of Gypsum Crust Detail - Bacteria Production

3d Printed Petri dish model of Endolithic Detail - Bacteria Production


Growth ratio

Bacteria 3D printed Micro photographs of the model _Bacteria growing on the 3d printed surface

model 111


Agri-Bio Generator Cover

Agri-Bio Generators Structure

Bacteria Growth Cases

Excavated Soil

Artificial Pond

The bacteria will be collected from the mother prototype the Bedouin powerhouse and planted in a personal level into the Agri-Bio generators. The generator will colonise the bio-product underneath the cover of the generator in specially made growing cases. The requirements for the generator to be applied is for the owner to excavate an area of 3m radius .The excavation will result into the creation of a circular pond that is going to be the driving mechanism of the generator. The process to grow cyanobacteria in those conditions is through evaporation of the pond in a covered

Agri-Bio Generator 113

Bedouin Powerhouse Prototype




Prototype network Initial Bacteria and Algae Feed

Algae-Bacteria / Agri-Generator

The initial bacteria and algae for the Bedouins to grow will be collected from the main prototype .The microorganisms will be extracted from within the accreted structure and then placed into specially designed canisters for the generator to multiply.

The generator will create the correct natural conditions to boost the colonisation of the bacteria .In this process the sun will evaporate the water underneath the generator .the humidity that it will be created will boost the production .the generator will also depressurise the air within the generator to prevent damage to the generator cover.



Bedouins Private Reasearch lab

Bedouin Settlement

The research lab itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s designed to be efficient and portable. The main components are made of strong, durable, cheap plastic polyprop lenium. The components could be folded for the lab to migrate to the next set of agri-generators. The labs main function is to generate electricity by mixing the bacteria mater with waste from the settlements. By this process the bacteria will release electrons when collected stored and preserved for the settlement to consume.

The Bedouin settlement will be mostly the original Bedouin tent with the palm constructed compartments around the main structure. A medium size settlement will accommodate at list a family of 6.

Production Process 115


Bedouin Powerhouse_exterior visualisation



Bedouin Powerhouse_interior visualisation



Bedouin Powerhouse_beginning of flood season




_ urban dynamic simulation Diffusion limited aggregation has been used to simulate the behaviour of the expansion of the Bedouin Powerhouse. Certain rules have been set to simulate this aggregation. Privacy/the first rule is withdrawn from the nomad settlement pattern that after research led to 100m average. The Bedouin/the second rule that has been set is the number of nomads accreting along the main nomad infrastructure (500bedouin families /year, the direction of entry to the site (main road Tozeur - Kebili). Neighbouring/the third rule is self attraction of the agents/Bedouins (30m).When the agents come within the distance that has been stated to each other they pack and search for resources together as well as settling. Through a series of simulations and tweaks in the processing code I have concluded to a diffused aggregated urban structure that provides 6726 Bedouin settlements with all the proposed mechanisms.




Urban Infrastructure

Bedouin Settlements

Energy production tessellation Social tessellation

Energy network

Initial prototype

Min population

Max population

DLA masterplan 125


Bedouin settlements


Main settlement infastructure

Production plots tessellation

Energy Network

Diffusion limited aggregation

Distance between each point 100m

Self attracted particles (0.8)

DLA sector plan 127



_ urban dynamic simulation

Metafield intensity charge has been used in the results of the processing simulation to illustrate and monitor the effects of increase of population and the behaviour of the main urban structure. The algorithm has been applied in the knots of the energy networks increasing the bacteria production for the generation of electricity. As the population grows the structure will be extended to provide with resources the Bedouin or the scientist.\the simulation has been monitored in 1 family per plot, 2 families per plot and 3 families per plot.





_ Bio-Dune Lab Located in the south east boarders of the Chott El-Djerid salt lake, and more specifically in the abandoned village, Debebcha, the Bio-Dune Lab prototype introduces a new way of exploiting the potential ingredients found in the grains of sand. The desert sand will be harvested in order to extract specific bacteria species that can survive in such extreme and arid environmnets. Plant-growth bacteria species, can combat problems arising from desertification which can be used in order to strengthen the agricultural production. The Bio-Dune Lab prototype, utilizes an other bacteria specie (baquilus pasteuri) in order to create a self-accreted organic form. This specific specie is used to transform sand into sandstone through the process of wind flow. In order to collect and capture the sand grains, a base structure is created made out of plam trees. The base structure is constructed in layers every one meter. After the sand has accumulate, a first injection of bacteria is been employed as a design tool for the creation of living spaces that exploits the natural process of sand sedimentation. Harvesting bacteria areas, farming plots for plant growth bacteria tests as well as microobial research labs and housing areas for scientists and local farmers are introduced in the prototype.



Desert sand


Plam tree fences

Solidified sand dune

A lansdcape made out of sand.



1,5m. 2m.

Palm tree fences 135


Sansdstone erosion 137





Wind flow

Bacillus pasteurii



Bacteria tested for agriculture growth

[BD] Bio-Dune Lab








urban infrastructurers

agriculture plotsrs

sand dunesers

solodified sandstonemers

Location site 141

[PO] After the sand crust has been solify, the inhabitation begins in the interior of the artificial dune. In the cells of the solified crust, plots for plant-growth bacteria harvesting are created, as well as agricultural plots for small oasis.

planting oasis

[SS] As the injection mixture of bacteria, urea and calcium chloride is been pured in the sand soil, a solidified sand crust is created. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cell-hole formations has a reference to the patterns found in the sand stone that are


[BI] After the structure has been filled up with sand, injection paths will be created following the slope of the dune.

bacteria injections

[DS] As the wind is blowing the desert soil sand is trapped inside the base structure. sand grains

[PS] A base structure in the shape of a dune made out of palm tree leaves is created as a first layer of the constructtion.


palm tree leaves

Material system explodeted axonometric view 143

Phase 1

Phase 2

00 months Existing dune

After 1 month Base structure is constructed made out of palm trees

Phase 4

Phase 5

After 7 months A bacteria injection begins


After 8 months Solidified sand crust is been created and a new base structure is constructed. Inhabitation begins.

Phase 3

After 6 months As the wind is blowing grains of sand are trapped inside the base structure

Phase 6 After 12 months Planting plots and bacteria harvesting areas are created in the surface of the solified dune.



physical model_ base structure construction process 147


metafield intensity of the cells

Injection strategy 149


enrtances pahtwayss

solidified area

Ground level Solidification layer 151


first solidification layer

second solidification layer

fifth solidification layer

sixt solidification layer

third solidification layer

forth solidification layer

seventh solidification layer

eight solidification layer




_ sand solidification model experiment




interior views 157


Section montage 159


Arial view montage 161


Panoramic view montage


Time: 20sec.

Time: 100sec.

Time: 150sec.

Time: 20sec.

Time: 100sec.

Time: 150sec.

Time: 20sec.

Time: 100sec.

Time: 150sec.



_ urban dynamic simulation studies In order to test the distribution of the BIO-Dune Lab prototype on site, a series of parametric studies using the [DLA] Diffusion Limited Aggregation process where used. As seeds of the simulation where set the highest points of the existing dunes that surround the abandonded village, where the fisrt harvesting of bacteria will take place. As agents where set the potential wind flow that will accumulate the particles of sand in the base structure.

speed: 5 agents: 300 self attraction: 0.02 agent repulsion: 1 line length : <30m. avoid speed: -10 agents aling: 100

speed: 3 agents: 300 self attraction: 0.02 agent repulsion: 1 line length : <50m. avoid speed: -10 agents aling: 1

speed: 5 agents: 300 self attraction: 0.02 agent repulsion: 1 line length : <20m. avoid speed: -10 agents aling: 1




aggregation form existing dunes

Master plan 167


aggregation form existing dunes

Master plan 169



_ Water Hub Water Hub prototype aims to utilize the ingredients of the water precipitations that can be found in the area in order to produce energy. At the same time, it challenges the existing methods of extracting water and proposes new. All the actors of the new accreted ecology participate in its usage. In that way Water Hub takes also the responsibility of a social hub too. As a site, a new scheduled fossil water well can be used as a test bed for the new methods. Main use of the Water Hub remains the extraction of fresh water from the deep aquifer. However, a new type of production of energy is introduced by the method of electrolysis inside the salt water ponds that will surround the well. Each pond will contribute with a certain amount of energy to the production of a large amount of energy capable of sustaining the needs of the new local ecology. Furthermore, ISET students can use the space for their studies. Moreover, in oasis terraces, DIY farmers can own an agriculture plot with the agreement of producing salt water batteries that can be used by the Bedouins. Topographically, architectonically as the prototype introduces a new landscape in the area, tourists can visit the place not only for learning about the process but also to enjoy the view.



New fossil water well Depth: 2.500 m Aquifer: CI terminal Project initiated: April 2013 Completion Planned: August 2013


Water â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;s temperature up to 70 C

Extreme steam is produced

Channeling to irrigation system

The existing reality of a new fossil water well.





80m -65m 65m-50m 50m -35m 10m-20m 10m-20m 10m- -5m -5m- -20m

2.5km depth

Fresh-Great Heat


Salt-High Salinity

Fresh-Moderate Salinity

The well brings water on the upper level with temperatures up to boiling degree. Great humidity is being created.

The cooling process will start from the upper level falling down. Gradually the water will be suitable for irrigation.

Small salt water ponds will be produced for the salt water battery. The evaporation of the water will create gradually salt precipitations.

Excavating the Chott El jerid lake a great amount of salt water with TDS> 10 g/l can be found


Salt hills Salt precipitations

Excavated Sand Water salinity TDS> 5g/l



Industrial waste

Water salinity TDS< 10g/l

Water salinity TDS> 10g/l

The messy landscape of the salt mine in the lake.













_ salt water battery Within the red ponds of the Chott El Jerid lake, new hill structures inspired from the existing salt hills, create an artificial environment where the extraction of salt water makes energy production possible, combined with the water desalination and the harvesting of salt for food purposes, whilst tourists can enjoy spa treatments and breathteaking views of the area. The idea is based on the phenomenon of electrolysis. When electricity passes through molten compounds, like sodium chloride, the ions move towards the electrode of opposite charge. Sodium chloride gives sodium metal and chlorine gas. Activities: water extraction and filtering energy production(osmosis) harvesting salt for extraction, leisure activities(SPA, observation) labor inhabitance Cycles [ecology, energy, food, water, microclimate, tourism]

energy collection

water cells

water distribution

Final Complex Terminal_aquifer well




Waste heat collector canopy Chance for dessalination

Water Hub

Cooling procees Cooling structure

Energy collector Electricity wires

Small water ponds 5g/l salt precipitations

Small Water ponds 10g/l salt precipitations

Agriculture Terraces DIY plots Underground structure Well, Leisure

Fresh/ Salt water mixture Chance for Osmosis process


Excavated Salt water pond Supplier for salt water batteries


construction phases

digital representation



PHASE 1 The fossil water well is being located and the realisation process starts





DIY farmers start to dig the surrounding area and the excavated sand is being added onto the well

PHASE 3 The new landscape is being visible from a large distance

PHASE 4 Smaller ponds, are being started to be digged, which are defining the different cells


metal structure framework

relational diversity

salt water battery




salt hills

supportive electricity structure, introduced landscape, radiation analysis


1832.35<= 1649.11 1465.88 1282.64 1099.41 916.17 732.94 549.70 366.47 183.23 <=0.00


geothermal pressure



tion s

rriga asis I


Oasis Irrigation system

[CI] aquifer water fresh cooling water [CT] aquifer water Water Cells

Water flows diagram 187


a total of

325.700 V

from 3.257 salt water ponds with an average of 100V per cell

Electricity flows diagram 189

existing DIY structure

new oasis terraces

salt water battery


N 0m






fossil water

waste heat




TDS >10

Water Hub plan 193



_ salt battery energy apparatus

The electrecity cells

Extreme salinity_ the bioproduct of the salt water battery

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 195








1. Wires 2. Cooper-Zing 3. Voltemeter 4. Salt Water 5. Vacuum forming plastc surface 6.Milling foam

AXO model 197

Time: 5sec.

Time: 20sec.

Time: 30sec.

Time: 40sec.

Time: 60sec.

Time: 80sec.

Time: 90sec.

Time: 120sec.

Time: 150sec.



_ urban dynamic simulation

DIY farmers

fossil water well

water ponds

//variables int n_a=100 int n_b=1 selfattract(0.02) repulsion(100) avoid_B(-200) align(0.1)

Agents( DIY farmers) Seed (New fossil water well) LineC (water paths) New seeds (excavated water ponds)





[St] [Ts]


Tourists|Sightseeing [SS]


DIY farmers [Bd] [Bd]

Bedouins [Df] [St]

ISET students


Tourists| Explorers


DIY farmers

Water Hub section 201




_ bacteriologic accreted inhabitation




_ bacteriologic accreted inhabition Having as a fundamental intention to use the ingredients of the landscape, of nature itself, the prototypes we introduce use sand, salt, bacteria, microorganisms and their natural principles as basic elements for a self-organizing design process. The urban settlements and infrastructures, around and inside the salt lake, are self-generated from the materiality of nature. The Bedouin Power House Prototype [BPH], takes advantage of the natural ingredients of the lake by regenerating gypsum and salt accreting structures, which eventually will be used as algae-bacteria harvesting infrastructures. Within the materiality of the prototype the microorganisms will reproduce and later will be extracted. The prototype has been particularly designed around the Bedouin and it will generate the main resources for a new urban system to emerge within Chott el Jerid salt lake. In the Bio-Dune Lab Prototype [BDL], sand is the basic natural ingredient for harvesting specific species of bacteria that are able to solidify sand and turn it into sandstone as well as resistant bacteria that can help the agricultural growth. The natural occurred accreted form is been generated though the blowing wind process. An architecture of injections inside the dune is been employed as a design tool for the creation of urban settlements and bacteria research labs, that exploits the natural process of sand sedimentation. Furthermore, Water Hub Prototype challenges the water cycle in relation to the public space, by making use of the water cycle on site. By its morph, it introduces a new landscape in the area that is being shaped from the excavated sand itself, process that is needed for extracting salt water in order to produce a small amount of energy in the form of batteries through electrolysis.



/// the city as an urban mechanism of natural forces







Zone boarders

Natural conditions at the boarders of the lake 211


Salinity tesselation

Wind flows

Natural flows 213

Energy Accreted Ecologies viplan 214

Local ecology 2065 215



2022 216



2065 217


The initialization of the new fossil water well has allready been started and more and more DIY farmers are gothered in the area to help the process. The first excavated salt water ponds start to give the amount of energy capable of attracting bedouin â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;s attention in the area. The metal structure and the scaffolding are allready been visible onto the fossil well illustarting the new area that has began.

Local ecology 2015 219


The completion of the water hub has allready been in its half now and the first electricity connections starts to feed the new ecology. Strong wind flows are in favours of scientists hope trying to implement the first biodune labs in the area. Palm tree fences seems to be the most wanted element in that period which will hold the gothered sand. Bedouins help the process having their camels as the beariers of the dry palm tree leaves. Having seen the changes in the area bedouin families, per groups, start to occupy the buffer zone of the lake. Scientists have allready share the information about the nature of cynobacteria and their potentials and bedouin communities decide to start excavate large water ponds in the lake to cultivate this type of bacteria. The fisrt metal structures on top of the ponds resemples with camels caravan from a certain distance from the fata morgana mirage.

Local ecology 2020 221


The new ecology in its most creative period until now. More and more bedouins spread the news throughout the lake and ,more and more, bedouin settlements around the powerhouses and the water hub start to emerge. Electricity connections need to multiplate from the energy demand now and the territory of the water hub grows more and more. Copper and zing plates arrived in the hub are being stored inside the hub in the lower levels. The upper levels of the hub start to be noticeable from the eye level of the biodune labs and the researchers visit the place to have a look. They are pleased from the quick response of the fisrt bacteria injections in the sand. Robots in the place work day and night in the area living the common sound of their operation as the confirmation that everything evolves well.

Local ecology 2022 223


The flood of the lake (which normally takes place twice a decade) happened as being predicted. Bedouins abandon their settlements but they know that when they will return, the metal structure that have left will be replaced by the formations of the salt crysrtals around it. The relationship between farmers and the researches are being tightened in the shadow of the mountainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s water hub and the first bacteria from the BIODESERT team are being tested on the terraces of the mountain. At the same time the idea for creating touristic accomodation spaces matching the interior space of the biodune labs have started to be visualised, as visitor researcherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s friends are always being thrilled by the Labsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; architecture.

Local ecology 2025 225


After another big flood bedouins returned to their settlements and find the several powerhowses well structured from the salt precipitations. The development of the new Powerhouses are already in the near future plans and the first trials for a big biofuels export is being made. Unlimited electricity is loaded from the water hub after the boost of salt precipitations from the flood and tourists visiting the place for the first time are stunned by the water colorations of the salt water ponds surrounding the water hub. From the highest terrace of the mountain the views are breathtaking. From the one part the endless Chott el jerid lake, from the other part the dune- like landscape is growing more and more.

Local ecology 2035 227


A critical moment for the ecology. The territories between the Biodunes labs, the Water Hub and the Bedouin Powerhouses start to being dissolved. The energy demand of the local ecology has reached up to a level that the water hub on its own can not feed it. Local board has gathered to decide whether a new fosssil water well in the area is needed to satisfy the emergent needs. The decision is to test the same microscale ecology to another surrounding place of the lake where plenty of space is still available. In that way energy accreted ecologies network starts to initiate and the rumour of a new kind of civilization capable of feeding its needs is spread throughout the

Local ecology 2065 229




Energy accreted ecologies  

Energy Accreted Ecologies is a design research project that investigate the notion of urbanism under the mode of renewable energy need. Havi...

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