Trash-Powered Street Lamp!

by , 11/13/09

gaon, street light, methane, trash

Think about how much trash goes into a bin in, say, New York City‘s Times Square on a daily basis. What if all that garbage could be used to generate energy? That’s the thinking behind designer Haneum Lee’s Gaon Street Light – a lamppost powered by garbage!

gaon, street light, methane, trash

Lee’s lamppost features a trash can at its base. Pedestrians toss their old food products inside, where they are composted. Methane from the compost is used to power the lamp, and the entire process begins again.

It’s an interesting concept, but we see a few problems with it. How much trash would be needed to keep the lamp turned on? And what happens when the inevitable pedestrian throws regular trash into the food waste bin? The Gaon Street Light would undoubtedly work best in areas with heavy foot traffic, but those are the places where people are most likely to toss their regular trash into the wrong bin. Still, Lee’s idea is promising, and at the very least, compost waste may one day be able to partially power our street lights.

Via Yanko Design

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  1. Dodecadude February 17, 2010 at 9:52 am

    One solution to keep non-food waste out of the composting: A wire mesh trash can above the composting bin, the bottom would need to be mesh for this to work. Also there should be a cranking mechanism to tumble the trash and knock loose as much organic waste as possible. Every time some deposits something, they give the crank a turn. Turning the crank could also mix the compost as well. Trashmen would come by to empty the the wire mesh can as needed.

  2. triangle January 22, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Check the Park Spark Project for a group doing it with pet waste

  3. Elemental LED staff November 19, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    This is intriguing, but sounds problematic in the same way that making biofuels out of corn is, so that one source of energy is dependent on producing something else. yes, there will always be garbage, but perhaps this is just another idea that doesn’t do much to encourage reducing consumption.

  4. Kirsten Corsaro November 13, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Interesting! It seems like this could work with pet waste as well.

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