Metabolizer: A open-source waste-processing system generating electricity from trash
Harvesting useful energy from municipal waste or our daily garbage is common around the world. In some developed countries, only 1 percent of household waste is dumped to landfills, while the remaining garbage is either recycled or incinerated in power plants to generate electricity. Sam Smith is working on developing a prototype open-source multifunctional waste processing system, named Metabolizer, that mimics the metabolism of a living organism. It is capable of decomposing household wastes in order to power itself as well as provide resources and tools to fabricate its own parts, enabling self-grow, evolve, adapt, and eventually self-replicate. The machine is going to be equipped with a bunch of sensors to monitor its own performance, as well as record and stream the performance data in real-time over the internet.
As per Sam’s design, this system uses heat to decompose shredded waste into a combustible clean gas that can be stored and later be used to feed a lawnmower engine producing shaft power and electricity using a dynamo. The torque from the shaft power can then be used to run a waste shredder, while the so-generated electricity can power the control unit, sensor systems, and a 3D printer that will print out most of its parts from the plastic waste fed to the system. This is an open-source project and Sam aims to provide full documentation and designs for easy replication of this garbage eating self-powered robot by others.