Vertical moss growth

Development of suitable substrate systems for controlled and time-optimised growth.

Project description

Big City World. With the shift from an industrial to a service and knowledge-based society, at the beginning of the 21st century, cities all over the world experienced a renaissance. More and more people want to live in cities. The number of cities and their inhabitants is rising steadily. According to the statistics, in 2005, 49.1 percent of the population worldwide lived in cities; the forecast for 2030 is 60.0 percent. In Germany, it is estimated that 78.6 percent of the population might even live in cities by then. In the highly individualised and fully networked urban living spaces, the understanding of man and nature is also changing. Due to the desire for an improved quality of life and a better urban climate, landscape is being integrated into urban spaces more and more. Smart city concepts and smart designs combine the potentials of nature and technology. Against this backdrop, the greening of buildings and urban infrastructure is becoming ever more interesting for architects and urban planners. This means that the demands on green areas in urban spaces are manifold. Areas are desired that, in addition to increasing well-being, also have a positive effect on the micro-climate and keep the air clean, reduce noise pollution, have the potential to save energy, support rain water retention and promote cooling of the often overheated cities. In order to find solutions to these challenges, the development of future-oriented systems for the greening of buildings and urban infrastructure is becoming an ever more important component of research and development. The “VerticalGreenMoss” project by the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology (UMSICHT) deals with the previously little-explored topic of vertical greening using mosses. As the oldest land plants, mosses have promising physiological aspects, for example such as an ion exchange capacity and a selective antibacterial and fungicidal effect.

In their natural ecosystem, the green survival artists often grow vertically on rocks and bark. However, targeted technical cultivation of mosses that is successful in the long-term is yet to be achieved. Through a specific stimulus of naturally inspires surfaces, the project by the Oberhausen research institute is pursuing comprehensive, time-optimised and long-term vertical moss growth and the resulting development of successful product concepts. To do this, all relevant parameters that enable vertical moss growth in nature must first be determined over the course of the project. Data on natural substrates and locations will be collected, evaluated and analysed. The basis for the structuring is provided by impressions of natural surfaces and the examination of this substrate topology. Based on the results, a concept is then to be created which represents the foundation for the development of technical systems and for the conception of a suitable substrate design. The functionalisation of the near-surface 3D structure of substrates can achieve targeted substance, liquid and nutrient transport or even demonstrate anchoring positions for biological structures. From a technical perspective, this functionalisation can be performed in pores, gutters and vascular structures, which can be introduced into the substrate using various 3D printing methods and examined in great variance. The developed substrate surfaces are inoculated with moss fragments or spores and optimised by complementing this with active substances in combination with or following the 3D printing. Experimental studies on moss cultivation through the use of day-night test chambers, defined lighting scenarios and specific environmental conditions provide valid data on the colonisation success and for determining the rate of growth. In this way, a substrate system for controlled and time-optimised moss growth is to be developed, which offers new possibilities for vertical greening in urban spaces and effectively addresses the aforementioned desirable effects.

Funding code: 031B0398