Microbial Kitchen

Welcome to the kitchen of the future.

Microbial Kitchen

Just imagine your future dinner parties.

Microbial Kitchen Pantry

This pantry has a cooling unit that keeps food fresh with no electricity.

Microbial Kitchen Digester

All your food waste goes into a bio-digester that helps power the rest of the kitchen.

Microbial Home Digester

No more compost. Just throw your food right in the digester.

Microbial Kitchen Recycler

This device helps prepare plastic for recycling.

Microbial Kitchen Biolight

These lights are powered by bacteria.

Microbial Home Beehive

Truly local honey: A beehive right in the kitchen.

Microbial Kitchen Toilet

This very public toilet turns your "excreta" into power.

2011-10-31

Co.Exist

This Insane Kitchen Of The Future Powers Itself With Leftovers

It might look like something from an imaginary steampunk past, but designers at Philips think this could be the low-impact home of the future.

It’s called the Microbial Home. Created as part of Philips’ Design Probes program to “explore far-future lifestyle scenarios,” it is a vision for a collection of household appliances and fixtures that all work together in an “integrated cyclical ecosystem.”

The Microbial Home takes kitchen composting to its extreme, with a closed-loop system in which the waste products from one process are used as energy inputs for another.

The central hub is a “bio-digester island” which has a cutting surface, a gas range, and a bio-digester. Bacteria in the bio-digester feed on organic waste such as vegetable trimmings to produce a methane gas that powers the range and the lights and heats water. Dehydrated sludge from the digester can be used as compost.

The connected “larder” includes a suspended vegetable garden and a terra cotta evaporative cooling unit built into the table, providing an alternative to energy-intensive refrigeration. Other elements of the Microbial Home include a beehive, a light powered by bioluminescent bacteria, and yes, a squatting toilet that captures “excreta” for the methane digester. There’s even a hand-cranked contraption for recycling plastic.

Models of these concepts were shown at Piet Hein Eek gallery in Eindhoven for October’s Dutch Design Week, but it’s unlikely that we’ll actually working elements of the Microbial Home in stores anytime soon. Philips’ Probes are exercises in speculative design, intended to spark conversation and spur innovation.

The Microbial Home does serve as a nice illustration of one way we can make our homes more sustainable though. America wastes 27 percent of the food available for consumption and about half the energy we produce. A domestic bio-digester can only help.

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11 Comments

  • Malachi Doane

    And where are the men in the kitchen of the future? Not only have I had to install a lot of kitchens I cook and eat too! I'm reminded of the Culinary Arts students whining on campus to us Surveyors. I asked them if when they got done with class if they would be going home and conducting a traverse because I still had to cook dinner.

  • The Prophet

    You might not see that kitchen in the developed world. But it is
    practical for rural areas in Asia. Any place that has little money for
    energy can utilize this concept. Places like Thailand and Cambodia
    essentially have no packaging to dispose of as everything is fresh in
    the markets. Add solar ovens and water distilling tables to this and you
    would have a running machine cooking food and providing clean water. 
    The methane gas could provide free lighting in the houses.

    I would bet that most of this  if not all could easily be built in Thailand using stuff available there. 

    Is there any more detailed information available about this kitchen?

    Dusty Reed

    dusty_reed@yahoo.com

  • The Prophet

    You might not see that kitchen in the developed world. But it is practical for rural areas in Asia. Any place that has little money for energy can utilize this concept. Places like Thailand and Cambodia essentially have no packaging to dispose of as everything is fresh in the markets. Add solar ovens and water distilling tables to this and you would have a running machine cooking food and providing clean water.  The methane gas could provide free lighting in the houses.
    I would bet that most of this  if not all could easily be built in Thailand using stuff available there. 
    Is there any more detailed information available about this kitchen?
    Dusty Reed
    "dusty_reed@yahoo.com"

  • Plumster Howard

    I love new ideas while may not be a do for me and my brood could be great for someone just starting out in life.

  • David Goldsmith

    Nice to see (yes, here in the late-coming rich world) but there's nothing "insane" about it...in fact, it's the opposite of "insane".

  • Justin Harris

    I am confused about squatting for a dump in the kitchen. I gather you just hold on to the little bar and lean backward???? And what about the smells from the rotting food and 'excreta'... can that please go outside?

  • Arty

    It's very disingenuous of Philips to create a theoretical kitchen like this and to say that working models are unlikely in the near term while a very quick search online produces many results. It's like the tobacco industry discussing health while saying it's an impossible dream.

  • Paul Harris

    It's actually happening now, thousands of homes in India, China, SE Asia, Philipines and Columbia (I may have missed some, apologies) already use biogas for cooking and lighting. Paul Harris

  • Philip Troost

    For my graduation project I designed one for less than $100 aimed at farmers in South-East Asia which is currently being installed over 3 continents. Biogas can be a lifesaver!

  • Arty

    Bravo! I'd like to know more about this. I have a plan to build my own home and want to know how to be as eco respectful as possible.