Bold City: A rapid transit system which runs on algae

This presentation by Lloyd Martin was made at the third Bold City mini-conference hosted at The Bank on Harrington Street. Read more here

Speaker: Lloyd Martin
Title: Student Presentation
Organisation: Department of Architecture students from the University of Cape Town
Topic: PRT

This presentation demonstrated an innovative approach to alternative personal transit operated on biofuel derived from algae. The system is designed as a two passenger rapid transit system suspended in the form of a sky train, pod-like system with algae tube reactors imbedded throughout the system route. Key issues considered in the design were access to public transport where 45% of South Africa’s population do not have adequate access to public transport resulting in congestion and long travel times to and from work. Lloyd also noted that private vehicles are also seen as a status symbol by many road users.

The system was designed as a closed loop system with no waste therefore creating a semiotic relationship with is environment. Algae as a fuel source was chosen due to its greater yield of oil per microgram, with the potential of producing 8,000 litres of biofuel per day, while also producing valuable by products such as water.  It is hoped that using this system would not only make the population more environmentally aware but would free the street scape of congestion and provide a better sense of security on public transit systems. The system can be adapted to any city footprint and can flex to meet passenger demand. It is hoped that the future of public transport can draw on these innovations and provide a more flexible and sustainable transport solution to South Africa’s cities.