The Netherlands – Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Ilja Schamlé is exploring the potential of self-sustaining eco-systems with a tomato plant-powered energy server. Her project, Warm Earth, examines how technology could enter a symbiotic relationship with nature. In the self-contained server system renewable energy derived from tomato vines runs a cloud server, with heat generated by the computer providing optimal growing temperature for the plants.
While this project offers a promising insight into the future of sustainable energy, the world’s current internet usage is too high for such a system to work. ‘The pace of the internet is extreme compared to the pace of plants, how they grow and how the bacteria breaks down and releases electrons,’ says Schamlé. ‘Combining these two systems accentuates the excessiveness of our online behaviour and its electricity use.’
In the future, there will be an even greater need for systems that simultaneously cater for our digital habits while also preserving nature. Elsewhere, we previously spoke to designers Monika Seyfried and Cyrus Clarke about their research into data-storing plants.
Our current energy usage is proving harmful and unsustainable. Technology companies, therefore, should embrace opportunities to accelerate such innovations – enabling researchers to seriously explore plant-powered electricity