Exploded View of Final Design
Additional Above Sink Filters
Uses Existing Fittings
Waste Oil Container
Testing Nanopolymer Effectiveness
What it does
A filter that repurposes domestic kitchen waste: preventing fats, oils and grease from entering the sewage system and allowing them to be repurposed into biodiesel.
The aim of this project was to develop a product, designed to prevent Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) in a domestic setting, from being carelessly poured down the kitchen sink, resulting in detrimental economical and environmental damage. A recent example of FOG related blockage was recently reported in Kingston, where I live. It was reported that a single length of sewer was reduced to only 5% capacity having been almost completely blocked by over 15 tonnes of fat. The clean up took several weeks and was all removed by hand.
How it works
The product works by using a passive hydrodynamic filtration system to separate fat, oils and grease from water. These filters are housed in a redesigned component of the existing domestic plumbing network, and can be installed easily and without the use of additional tooling. The filtered out FOG is directed into a separate container that once full, can be recycled into biodiesel and only clean water is able to pass through the outlet into the sewer. Until now, the project has been almost entirely concentrated on the product, however ultimately it will be part of a much bigger product-service system that works in collaboration with water companies to help install and maintain the equipment, and local recycling companies who can repurpose your waste into an alternative, sustainable fuel.
The project went through a variety of different design iterations with very different approaches to finding a solution. Initial ideas included a packaging redesign from cooking oil companies that allowed you to pour waste fats, oils and grease directly into the packaging. This packaging would contain all the necessary ingredients, such as seeds and nuts, to create a bird feeder, without the need to source your own materials or having to physically interact with the fat. Other ideas included creating all inclusive home biodiesel kits and exploring waste oils' potential for enhancing agriculture. prototypes were made for most of these design concepts before finalising, what is now, the current design direction. The current concept came about through the realisation that you cannot expect people to change their existing habits and attitude towards waste disposal, in addition to the fact that no matter how hard you try to avoid it, residual grease will inevitably end up being washed down the sink. it was therefore important to design something that worked with the existing domestic plumbing infrastructure, that did not require any conscious effort from the user to prevent waste fats oils and grease from going down the sink. The concept has not yet been commercialised.
How it is different
James Dyson Foundation prototyping scholarship