A team of international researchers are working on a £2.7m, 3 year project to create building blocks that can generate electricity from human and household waste. The aim is to enable homes to also be mini power and sewage treatment plants.
A high-tech element can be added to the microbial process because microbial fuel cells are naturally-occurring computers. The plan includes exploring how their mechanisms can be digitally coordinated.
They hope that combining proven technologies, they can create ‘Bioreactor walls’ from smart bricks that offer a kind of digestive system for homes and offices, to tackle both global energy scarcity and mounting waste.
The goal is to create a section of wall with ceramic-based blocks, or bricks, through which foul water can permeate, allowing the microbial fuel cells to do their work.
Rachel Armstrong, Professor of Experimental Architecture, Newcastle University commented: “The best way to describe what we’re trying to create is a ‘biomechanical cow’s stomach. It contains different chambers, each processing organic waste for a different, but overall related, purpose – like a digestive system for your home or your office.”
Professor Andrew Adamatzky, UWE added: “A building made from bio-reactors will become a large-scale living organism”
Top image: UWE’s Professor Ioannis Ieropoulos, at work on a microbial fuel cell (UWE)
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