Microbial home: fuelling the kitchen with methane from waste

This concept design for a "microbial home" centered around a methane digester hub that feeds gas from your food into various appliances has a nice, bodgy, Rube Goldberg feel. We can call it methanepunk (not perfect, but better than "fartpunk").

The Microbial Home is viewed as a cyclical biological machine where wastes like sewage, effluent, garbage, wastewater are filtered, processed and recycled to be used as inputs for the various home functions. The project includes various aspects like a Bio Digester Island and Larder in the kitchen, Urban Beehive, Bio-light, Apothecary, Filtering Squatting Toilet and Paternoster Plastic Waste Up-cycler.

The Microbial Home (via Beyond the Beyond)


    1. She may be barefoot, but I saw what she did to the rabbit that made fun of her for it.  I’m keeping my mouth shut.

  1. We had kitchens (and generators) powered like this with waste from a pig pen in Cambodia.  There was a large plastic bladder that floated in the rafters of the kitchen that was squeezed with a belt to push methane into the burners or into the generator.  It was farmpunk.

  2. “In the future, kitchens will exist in a horizon-less gray slab.”

    Good observation!  In reality that is the dream of every kitchen appliance manufacturer. :)

    But seriously. It’s a very unique looking and forward thinking concept. Well done.

  3. Hey, that’s the most cat-friendly concept kitchen I ever saw!

    Nice warm area under the digester for kitteh to slumber, no areas under appliances big enough for mice yet too small for the mighty huntress, and fiery lanterns are well up and away from easily cat-climbable structures.

  4. rotpunk.

    seriously, what could go wrong with having a pressurized, explosive tank of putrefying filth as the centerpiece of your kitchen?

    1. surely a step backwards from open fires, peat fires, coal stoves, and kerosene burners used by most of the world now. 

  5. I’d have liked to see more technical details.  We have bathroom waste in a container in the kitchen, really?  How do we add vegetable waste to the digester without making the kitchen/dining area smell like shit?  If there’s enough pressure built up in the digester to push methane out to the gas appliances, don’t we release methane + stank whenever we add material?  Don’t we get dangerous leaks?  How do we get spent material out of the digester, which must eventually happen?

    I’m off to DuckDuckGo looking for working digesters now.

  6. Sorry, but I think at this point we have a moral obligation to call it Fartpunk.

    And yeah, they have soemthing like this in parts of rural China done via pigpens (without the Ikea vibe).

  7. After years of maintaining the usual outdoor compost piles, I was excited to get an indoor composter.  It turns the compost and keeps it slightly heated, and since it’s right in the kitchen you don’t need to deal with maintaining a separate countertop container to collect the scraps, which ALWAYS ends up getting grody.  Plus, thanks to the heat and regular turning, you can compost more types of items, and more quickly.  End result: it makes fabulous compost.

    But….it stinks.  STINKS.  As in, I finally gave up and put it in the basement.  We’re back to the countertop bucket for collection purposes, to be taken downstairs regularly.

    As beautiful as this concept drawing is, all I can think about when I look at it is: does it stink?

    1.  @chgoliz: If the stink is sulfuric and anaerobic, you’re doing it wrong…  anaerobic decomposition does work, and many systems are based on it, but it’s not what you want in an unpressurized indoor composter.  There’s a reason your sewer has vent lines running out of your roof, and that your sinks have water traps!   Breathing the mix of gasses produced by anaerobic decomposition is at best unpleasant, can cause brain damage, and is potentially fatal.  Not to mention the fire hazard…

      I recommend a worm box instead of indoor composting.  Be careful not to let the worm box ferment; alcohol will cause a mass exodus of worms (which I can testify is not desirable.  Actually it’s almost terrifying).

      If you really want to do biogas production, generally you should build your digester outside, and pipe the gasses to your furnace and/or an indoor stove with a vent hood over it.  Both the stink gases and the combustion output are lighter than air and will rise out of your normal living envelope (although stink should actually burn off odorlessly, you want to plan ahead for leak management rather than waking up with a splitting headache and all your pennies tarnished green).

      Some random links for people interested in sustainable heating gas:





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