Singing Compost [heap#1], with Harun Morrison


Singing Compost [heap#1]

A collaboration between Harun Morrison and Paul Granjon


Composting is the natural process of recycling organic matter, such as leaves and food scraps, into a valuable fertilizer that can enrich soil and plants. The compost material contains electrogenic bacteria, microbes that release electrons as part of their metabolic process.


The presence of such bacteria (Shewanella Oneidensis, Geobacter…) in most soils has led to the development of microbial fuel cells (MFCs), also known as mud batteries. MFCs capture this electronic flow for powering low-power circuits such as environmental sensors.


Research in MFC design has established that growing live plants in the cell benefits the lifespan of the bacteria. These batteries are called Plant MFCs.


An array of 16 plant MFCs are integrated into the bed of the Singing Compost, their electrical output channelled to a circuit producing sounds that vary according to the voltage produced.


Singing Compost [heap#1] is installed in the Art Research Garden of Goldsmiths University London.