Discover the Alginator: a cyber-physical system that measures energy usage, calculates carbon emissions, and offsets them in an algae bioreactor. This solution addresses the carbon impact of digital fashion for Industry 5.0. By combining carbon capture technology, digital rendering, and augmented reality, we enable the visualization of digital fashion's carbon emissions while providing a climate-positive solution. The Alginator leverages the power of algae, the fastest carbon eater on the planet, to offset the environmental footprint of digital fashion and promote sustainability, creativity, and democratization within the industry.
A Biodesign-led inquest into the carbon impact and visualization of digital fashion (DF).
Industry 5.0 explores hyper customisation and collaboration between the human and the nonhuman, with both machines and living natural systems. Digital technology is core part of this, to enable manufacturing to be streamlined and increasingly resource-efficient. The textile and apparel field, one of the most polluting industries on the planet, can leverage this to become more informed and have greater control of its environmental impact through the blockchain.
Digital fashion is a part of this transition. It can enable ease of industry access, increased sustainability and greater creativity, creating garments which would be physically impossible in the real world.
However, the invisible carbon impact of this technology must be considered.
This is where the Alginator comes in. The Alginator is a cyber-physical system, that measures energy usage on a computer, calculates estimated carbon emissions and offsets an equalized amount of carbon in an algae bioreactor. This enables real-time offsetting for carbon-neutral digital fashion.
The cohesion between carbon capture technology, digital rendering and AR has enabled the visualisation of digital fashion carbon emissions with a climate-positive solution for Industry 5.0.
Chlorella is an algae micro-organism renowned for its diverse applications, from being a high protein source to a quick carbon sequester having a large oil content (Gissibl et al., 2019, Ma’mun, et al., 2022, Liang et al., 2013). Chlorella has a very fastest growth rate (Choi et al., 2019) increasing its attraction as a resource for future research, especially around mitigating air pollution and CO2 removal as these are core causes and solutions for climate change. This is well documented (Chiu et al., 2008), but specifically, its application for “Carbon Emission and Carbon Footprint” management (Maghzian, et al., 2022) using open or closed bioreactors is a growing area.
Chlorella vulgaris is a very stable organism to work with, (it doesn’t die too quickly) and this increases it’s viability when introduced into a domestic environment with multiple impacting variables, leading to a continuous, although often slow, increase in biomass if the nutrient mix is regularly topped up (Safi et al., 2014).
3 growth tests were run under atmospheric conditions were run to see how the organism coped, using optical density to measure the volume of cells in the culture. These were run under relaxed conditions as the Alginator would be placed within a domestic home or office setting, with changing light sources, atmospheric carbon volumes and human disturbance.
Making our carbon impacts visual was an important part of showcasing the digital collections data. I chose to experiment with doing this through AR filters, to create a visual meaning to the numerical volumes. These filters can be accessed through the game below. Choose one Clo3d time frame and one Blender time frame to see the digital garment and how much carbon it created via Instagram!