John Bucur

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Algae-Covered Cities: Merging Nature and the Built Environment – John Bucur

Turning Urban Structures into Algae Farms

John Bucur, founder and CEO of Airbuild, is getting innovative with algae. His startup aims to integrate nature and the built environment by embedding algae farms into everyday structures. Using novel growth and harvesting methods, Airbuild plans to produce algae for use in sustainable materials and biofuels, while sequestering carbon from the atmosphere at the same time.

In this episode, John talks about how he hopes to revolutionize our relationship to the environment through “nature’s solar panel”:

  • Coming from an advertising background, John needed to build a technical team to handle the engineering aspects of the business. With their help, Airbuild is streamlining inefficiencies in the algae farming process, while simultaneously bringing beauty and greenery back to urban environments.
  • After completing preliminary designs, Airbuild is now in the prototyping phase. During phase one, they plan to embed algae farms into parking structures. Algae will be grown in tubes running along the sides of the structure, known as “artificial trees”. In terms of carbon sequestering, that’s the equivalent of planting 1000 trees in the area of a single parking spot.
  • Airbuild is still in its infancy – the startup is currently seeking seed funding. John describes the challenges of building a company from the ground up, and his hopes to find investors in the startup’s new San Diego home.

To find out more about Airbuild, visit

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