Power Plant by Guus Van Leeuwen

More from Dutch designer Guus Van Leeuwen: Power Plant is a conceptual device for generating energy from household compost, exhibited at the Design Academy Eindhoven graduation show as part of Dutch Design Week last month.


The product has an engine which moves to drive a water pump or dynamo in response to the warmth produced from household waste breaking down.


Van Leeuwen proposes three possible applications for the garden: a hot tub, a garden shower and a reading chair with reading light.


See Van Leeuwen's Domestic Animals project in our previous story.


The following information is from Guus Van Leeuwen:


“Power Plant” is for the greater part a conceptual product with what I want to show how close to home we can keep energy production out of garbage, in this case compost.


Energy making out of garbage is already quite common nowadays. But I think the logistics can be a lot easier. The collecting of the garbage is a time, labor and energy spoiling job. And the transportation of the energy from the power station to the houses does also cost a lot of energy. In Sweden it’s already very common that every street collects its garbage in a garbage house. Inside such a house it’s often quite warm when it’s outside quite cold. This is caused by the scalding of the garbage. So without any effort are these garbage houses already working as a small energy station.

According to me there’s a future in this fact. I think we should go to a system in which at least garden and kitchen waste will be processed to energy close to the households. First the waste can be composted. In this process a big amount of warmth will be produced. And next the compost can still be used to create methane gas out of it. Every 10 kg of compost contents an amount of methane gas equal to 1 liter of super. And the final residue out of the waste can still be used as an excellent fertilizer for people’s gardens.

Of course this sounds great, but there’s a long way to go. With my “Power Plant” I made a product that shows how nearby energy production finds place without us knowing that. The product is a compost bin of 1m2 with on top of it a stirling engine that moves on the warmth that’s produced by the compost anyway. This warmth can go up to 70C°. I have made three applications to use this small “Power Plant” in the garden, at which the stirling engine works as a water pump or dynamo: A hottub, a garden shower and a reading chair with reading light.