Public bench heated by compost demonstrates waste as an alternative to fossil fuels for heating

London-based design studio Public Works has created a public bench heated by compost, to promote the use of waste as a viable alternative to fossil fuels for heating.

Instead of burning garbage or fossil fuels, organic waste is used to provide energy for a heating system that warms a city bench in Oslo. The installation relies on the natural reaction of composting, which can generate heat of up to 60-70 degrees celsius. This heat is transferred through a coil positioned at the centre of the bench.

Built as part of the Oslo Architecture Triennale’s theme of degrowth – which called for the exploration of ideas about the transition to a more circular economy as current production and consumption patterns are dramatically increasing waste outputs worldwide – Public Works says the public bench, entitled Power Plant(s)!, demonstrates “how we can create a closed loop waste-to-energy systems using nature based solutions”.

By the end of its 18-month cycle, the Power Plant(s)! decomposition of the biowaste is expected to generate around 15-metres-cubed of nutrient-rich compost for use.

In an interview with Dezeen, Public Works project lead Tom Dobson said: “Waste is one of the fundamental outputs of ‘growth’. As a society we spend a huge amount of money and energy trying to make our waste disappear and pretend it does not happen.

“We also spend a huge amount of energy and money extracting fossil fuel to create heat which brings a whole new set environmental issues entwined with growth.

“If you can heat a bench, you can heat a house.”

The non-profit design studio is planning to expand the project into domestic under-floor heating in a self-build studio it is designing in East London.

Images Credit: Public Works

Public Works

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com

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