Dutch electronic company, Philips, has designed the Microbial Home, a domestic ecosystem that harnesses biological processes to break down waste and convert it into energy through the use of a “bio-digester” kitchen island that uses natural bacteria to generate gas.
In a time when eco-friendly measures are becoming more important than just a passing fad, the Microbial Home fits right in with new ways of thinking about energy consumption. Philip’s senior direct of Design-Led innovation, Clive van Heerden, believes that, “We need to push ourselves to rethink domestic appliances entirely, to rethink how homes consume energy.” Well put, van Heerden. The Microbial Home collection includes a kitchen that powers itself with a mobile kitchen island that is made from copper, cast iron, glass and bamboo, and features a veggie grinder and cooking range that thrive on the methane gases that result from organic waste. The gas is harvested, burned and re-directed to the cooking range and gas mantle lights, and can also be used to preheat water pipes that lead throughout the rest of the house.
The kitchen island (consider it the “heart” of the Microbial Home) needs a constant supply of water and waste material (veggie scraps), but it also needs a unique ingredient to make it work‚ poop. Yes, folks, the poop collected from the inhabitants of the home (and possibly the family pets too?) is responsible for generating the bacteria that provide the kitchen island with methane gas – the fuel for the cooking range and the lights. And yes, rotting vegetables and fruits can be used too. This means that everything that is considered to be waste can be reused and help save the use of non-renewable resources, but let’s not kid ourselves about what dinner guests might think when they know their meals are being prepared on a unit that is powered by their hosts dung. Not the nicest things to consider (especially when it comes to kitchen hygiene rules), but innovative nonetheless.