Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Compost powered water heater

This is a video of a group of people testing out their compost powered water heater- which is pretty thrilling for us, as we've been chatting about an almost identical model for a while now. It's very exciting to see it working and to know that there's someone I can contact to ask about it.

Here is a diagram of the model they've based their design on, designed by Jean Pain, who was hot stuff on the composting scene.

This is a great, terrible video. It's basically a blooper reel of a fellow trying to rig up a solar shower, so it's a pretty clear "here's some of the challenges you might deal with" instructional.


  1. I was about to ask for some engineering comments on the feasibility of compost heating water. I'm concerned that if the heat goes into heating water, it won't go into heating compost, which might mean it won't decompose. Conservation of energy and all that jazz...

    This precedent certainly helps.

  2. I'll send a note to our engineering types to examine the problem. It may also be a good call to speak with architects, who might also know of building codes we may have to take note of.

  3. Spoke to Kenneth- he had some good questions about whether 1 or 2 people would produce enough waste to fuel the compost.. I think that it would be doable if perhaps compost was kitchen scraps and humanure.. We also need to think of a convenient way to design the system, keeping it sanitary and all.

  4. Humanure would be a good way of making a useful amount of compost. I´m wondering if there are regulations on composting human waste in your yard set by cities. I´m there are. and I´m sure that there´d be complaints if it was implemented even slightly poorly.

    An alternative would be communal composting. At the block level or in the community. Community centers could make a comeback with smaller houses!