Energy recovery & algal fuel production facility as future pressures of sustainable and environmental morality rise, Forgemasters is to utiltise their by products of the steel production process (heat, CO2, slag fertiliser), to develop and produce algal biofuel.

The 5 mile long Five Weirs Walk runs alongside the River Don in Sheffield, England. From Lady’s Bridge in Sheffield City Centre, it heads downstream, northeast, over the Cobweb Bridge, through Attercliffe to Meadowhall. The porject site is situated exactly half way along this riverside walk.

Site photos of Forgemasters located on the River Don.

Algal bioreactor yield potential: Predictions see potential of approx 185,000 litres/yr/ha

The general arrangement of Brightside Algal Works is influenced by the linear process of algal biofuel production. The process starts at the south end of the wall (closest to Forgemasters) where waste heat is recovered from the Melt Shop and fed into the Brightside Algal Works.

The project sees that the algal production facility becomes integrated within the landscape and context – introducing the Five Weirs Walk as part of public experience of the scheme through a walkway that passes behing the algae bioreactors. Embedded technology within wall – acting as a service spine for carrying water, algae water, heat (as steam) to allow for distribution across the site. The wall also acts as a flood defense for Forgemasters as part of a wider flooding strategy.

The structural frame, from which the vertically hung bioreactors are supported, consists of lightweight rectangular box sections, made up of regular lengths and a repeating joint components. The structure that runs a linear distance of approximately 700 metres, intends to adopt a relatively inexpensive system of repeating elements and standard fixing components.

Arrival from to the facility along the Five Weirs Walk occurs two and a half miles from the City Centre. Marking exactly half way of the walk, welcomes the perfect opportunity to fuel up at the algal ‘filling station’ with delights such as a weed burger and a protista ice cream before you embark on the 700m journey through the facility and beyond.

March 2025: The Don Valley is subject to a 1 in 10 year flood. The River Don has burst its banks encompassing its neighbouring landscape. Brightside Algal Works and Forgemasters remain operational, continuing their production being protected by the Brightside Algal Works flood defences and wider flood mitigation strategy.

Exploded axonometric of the proposed Brightside Algal Works development facility.

The facility building keys into the ‘technological wall’ providing direct access to the services that cover the entire cultivation zone. The footpath remains distinctly separate in term of privacy, however routes itself over a portion of the facility building offering glimpses into the facility building and the research and development activity within.

Brightside Algal Works is a production and research facility. The experiments and trials of new manufacturing methods of algal biofuel occur in the development centre. With the workshop and testing space at the heart of the building, offices and labs face onto this double-height space. Members of the public walking along the new Five Weirs Walk route past the workshop space at first storey level with only a visual connection down into the private workshop space.

The disconnect between sources of energy and the public is bridged by the Brightside Algal Works. The walk takes the public through the process of algal fuel production – seeing, hearing, and smelling the production process through deviations along the main wall route.