Philips is at the cutting edge of futuristic and sustainable design for the home. Its Microbial Home system, winner of the 2011 red dot luminary design award, uses common household waste in ways you may have never thought possible.
The Philips Microbial Home system is sort of an in-home ecosystem where, as Philips puts it, “each function’s output is another’s input.” In other words, waste gets reused or recycled instead of tossing it in the trash bin.
Bio-digester Island Hub
At the heart of the Microbial Home system is the Bio-digester Island. This isn’t your average kitchen island. Yeah, it includes a cutting and cooking surface, but that’s where the similarities end. The Bio-digester hub is constructed from cast iron, copper, glass and bamboo.
It features a food scrap grinder and a methane digester. The methane digester captures methane gas emitted from the food scraps, as well as from human waste extracted from the Microbial Home system’s specialized toilet system. The methane gas is then used to fuel the cooking range and gas lighting. The remaining dry sludge left over from the food scraps is removed and composted.
Paternoster Plastic Waste Up-cycler
What looks like some sort of windup radio or something is actually far more technologically advanced. The Paternoster Plastic Waste Up-cycler breaks down plastic bottles within weeks rather than decades, as is the case in nature.
Amazingly, the plastic decomposes with the help of a special fungus that actually turns the plastic into edible mushrooms! The theory is that a mycelium, the vegetative part of fungus, attaches to the plastic and breaks it down into small pieces. The mixture continues to cultivate to form mushrooms.
The copper and plywood Paternoster works by inserting plastic, turning the hand-cranked conveyer system, introducing mycelium/fungi, exposing the mixture to light/oxygen, and allowing the decomposition process to do its thing over a period of several weeks -- Pretty cool if you ask me!
These sustainable home concept designs are, at the moment, just that—concepts. So, it’s doubtful you’ll find either of these contraptions at your local Wal-Mart or Home Depot anytime soon. However, Philips is helping spread awareness of the possibilities out there in terms of sustainable design. These eco-friendly kitchen appliances may seem pretty far-fetched right now, but who knows, they could end up being staples in the kitchen 20 to 30 years from now.
Images via: Philips