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Phytokinetic adds a touch of green to public transport

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August 2, 2013

Phytokinetic is a green roof concept for public transport vehicles to bring a touch of nat...

Phytokinetic is a green roof concept for public transport vehicles to bring a touch of nature to urban centers

In an effort to bring a dash of green to gray concrete jungles, Catalan landscape artist Marc Grañén teamed up with green wall and roof designer Alex Puig.Grañén to perfect his Phytokinetic concept. Similar to the bus-top garden concept dreamed up by NYU graduate student Marco Castro Cosio, Phytokinetic is a mobile garden designed to be installed atop public transport vehicles.

Despite its apparent simplicity, there’s quite a bit of technology required to ensure the garden stays put and meets safety and transport regulations. A perforated stainless steel grid system anchors the plants in place in case of sudden braking and also helps the water circulate, while also allowing it to flow away so as to prevent it building up.

An ultra-light protective mesh can be added to enhance safety and prevent anything from moving or falling out of the perimeter. When completely fixed to the perimeter and the micro-perforated bands within, the entire planted surface becomes one unit welded to the structure of the bus. The designers claim that even if the bus turned upside down, everything would remain in place.

To waterproof the garden, an impermeable material called polyurea is sprayed on at 80° C (176° F). This material is ideal because it dries in just 10 seconds, and features high surface adhesion strength that allow it to withstand high tension levels.

Instead of using organic substrate, the design incorporates hydroponic foam, a material exclusively designed for adding lightness to roof gardens. With a thickness of just 7 cm (2.75 in), it can adapt to any surface, besides being easy to fit in either blanket or flaked forms. It’s also useful in preventing the evacuated water from getting mixed with earth and staining the bodywork of the vehicle. Being great at retaining humidity but not water, the hydroponic foam also helps keep weight in check during periods of persistent rain.

A plant carpet, which can be adapted to local flora, makes the entire planted surface green, adds a splash of color and prevents the hydroponic substrate from drying out. The air-conditioning units installed on the roof of the vehicle can also do the job of watering the plants. When it gets hotter and plants need more water, it's just a matter of turning up the air-con.

Last year, a Phytokinetic bus was displayed at the Iberflora exhibition and received the Best Sustainable Initiative award. Technical advice on how to comply with legal and safety regulations to help with the adaptation of roof-top gardens to the design and structure of different vehicles can be found on the Phytokinetic website.

Source: Phytokinetic via Urban Gardens

About the Author
Antonio Pasolini Brazilian-Italian Antonio Pasolini graduated in journalism in Brazil before heading out to London for an MA in film and television studies. He fell in love with the city and spent 13 years there as a film reviewer before settling back in Brazil. Antonio's passion for green issues - and the outdoors - eventually got the best of him and since 2007 he's been writing about alternative energy, sustainability and new technology.   All articles by Antonio Pasolini
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7 Comments

This idea is counter productive.

The weight increases road wear to the fourth power.

JøhP
2nd August, 2013 @ 02:02 am PDT

Strange but Catalan cities are possibly the least grey of all concrete jungles I've ever visited. But, I wonder about the impact of all this extra weight on vehicle energy efficiency. Also, can fauna be traumatized by being moved around constantly? Isn't it the case that many insects have geo-location adaptations?

David G
2nd August, 2013 @ 02:46 am PDT

The petroleum burned hauling all that soil around more than offsets whatever "greeness" the scammers, er, creative folk, think they're accomplishing.

Guy Macher
2nd August, 2013 @ 03:44 am PDT

I doubt the savings in air-conditioning can offset the weight liability. Why not flexible solar panels?

thk
2nd August, 2013 @ 05:19 am PDT

I think this would be cool if it is used at bus stops where the top or roof area could be 'greened up' to make it look nicer or even have a 'wall of green' on the sides of the bus stop.

I agree with the statements above, it seems what one gains in green one loses in having to use extra power to move it.

BigWarpGuy
2nd August, 2013 @ 06:09 am PDT

Lets screw with aerodynamics, and add weight so the bus uses more fuel and it top heavy and call it green. Pneumatic energy recovery and some high reflectivity paint would save fuel and provide cooling.

Slowburn
2nd August, 2013 @ 04:06 pm PDT

Not a bad idea. Until we move to pure electric it would be an even better design to house the top garden in a glasshouse and pass the exhaust gasses over the plants before exiting.

Will ensure some of the gas is absorbed at any rate. soot and exhaust pollution is tolerated by plants

Nairda
2nd August, 2013 @ 06:04 pm PDT
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