We Radiate is exploring the feasibility of mobile and strategically placed compost units which allow for the transfer of heat energy created through the decomposition and breakdown of food scraps. Heat generated from compost units creates temperatures exceeding 120°F. Our goal is to maximize energy output of small-scale compost units for use in public spaces (eg. bus-stops). And since New York City landfills over 1 million tons of organic material annually, this possibility can create vast (renewable) energy outputs.
There are 2 objectives:
a) Design innovative, small-unit compost units which optimize heat generation;
b) Maximize heat transfer from compost unit to external devices, for consumption in public spaces (bus-stops or to melt ice)
We Radiate is conducting multiple experiments to research the most effective methods to create heat energy by small scale compost stations. To reach elevated temperatures of 120°F, compost units must exceed a volume of 1 cubic meter, which is larger than ideal for an urban environment. To make this a plausible city-wide initiative it is necessary to minimize compost unit size.
Initial trials have been successful with temperatures exceeding 100°F on a small-scale. This achievement has prompted a continuation in volume reduction - from 2/3rd of the original size down to 1/4th. A prototype is currently being developed for placement underneath a bus-stop bench. This ecologically sound idea would bring forth heated benches at bus stops throughout the wintertime without additional financial resources; this will also offer an educational duality for participation in compost initiatives. We Radiate is looking to expand these design models across the city to encourage awareness and partnerships.
We Radiate meets the challenges of two urgent concerns: solid waste management and energy. Our vision enables communities to create, maintain, and possess their own energy generating locally from compost.
Funded by New York City, NY (January 2014)